NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The country is losing Sh30 billion every year in revenue due to illicit brews.
Data released by the Consumers Federation of Kenya also reveals that 50 percent of alcoholic outlets in the country sell counterfeited alcohol.
Secretary General of the Federation Stephen Mutoro further says that there are 900 unlicensed factories manufacturing the illicit brews.
This has meant that the main players are genuinely being denied an opportunity to grow their businesses.
“You have legitimate businesses feeling very shy of announcing that their products are being counterfeited for fear of people running away from their brands. And because they feel like there is nothing they can do about it, they end up counterfeiting their own products so as to get a cut from the Sh30 billion stake.”
But the Alcohol Beverages Association of Kenya (ABAK) is disputing such actions by its members.
‘‘Most pubs, shops and retailers are completely legitimate businesses and would not get involved with the illegal business,” ABAK chairperson Gordon Mutugi said in a statement and urged consumers to use the KRA soma label app which enables them to know whether a product is genuine or not.
Mutoro has urged the government to deal with the menace that is robbing the country off 14,000 youths annually while denying genuine alcohol manufacturers an opportunity of growing their businesses.
He also highlighted the bigger problem, which has made putting an end of circulation of illicit brews impossible.
“There is a section of people whose work is to fight the manufacturing of illicit brew but do not do so as they are in fact, owners of such factories. This makes this fight very difficult.”
COFEK calls urged the government to fight illicit brews, saying it is a bigger menace that drugs, asking the relevant stakeholders to fight the deadly brews with the same vigour as it’s been doing with drugs.
“Keeping the problem in perspective, the regulations that had earlier been put in place to ensure that the vast majority of the alcohol in Kenya is legitimate and safe has so far dealt a blow to the underground distilleries. We will continue to take bold, significant and strategic moves that will redefine and set standards for alcohol production and distribution,’’ Mutugi said.