Kenya’s Illicit Alcohol Is A Double Shot of Danger And An Economic Hazard

By Juma / Published July 27, 2023 | 10:31 am




KEY POINTS

The Kenyan is losing an average of 71 billion shillings in taxes annually due to the sale of illicit alcohol. Euromonitor Consulting says that the volume of illicit alcohol sales has recorded strong growth in value around the country since 2020 to stand at 67 billion shillings.


Illicit Alcohol

KEY TAKEAWAYS


International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) says that up to 60 percent of alcohol in Kenya is illicit and dangerous, more than double previous estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO).


The world of illicit alcohol is not new in Kenya. It has been around for decades. It is a world of boozy bonanza where our health and economy are dancing the dangerous tango, and the stakes have never been higher.

The Kenyan is losing an average of 71 billion shillings in taxes annually due to the sale of illicit alcohol. Euromonitor Consulting says that the volume of illicit alcohol sales has recorded strong growth in value around the country since 2020 to stand at 67 billion shillings.

What is more, International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) says that up to 60 percent of alcohol in Kenya is illicit and dangerous, more than double previous estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Related Content: Health Benefits of Alcohol You Didn’t Know About

The war against illicit alcohol, led by the Government of Kenya should be hailed. Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has been leading the fight. But the fight seems to be creating more casualties and cultivating more illicit brewers than doing away with the vice.

No doubt brewed in the shadows of secrecy, this hazardous hooch often contains toxic substances that make even the boldest adventurers cringe. From methanol to embalming fluid, the contents of these black-market beverages read like a grocery list from hell. One sip, and you might find yourself not just in high spirits but in the emergency room, battling blindness, organ damage, or worse death.

There is also no doubt that illicit alcohol is a stealthy saboteur of Kenya’s economy. It is like an undercover agent, infiltrating the legitimate alcohol market and evading taxes, leaving the economy to nurse a nasty hangover.

Related Content: Alcohol Manufacturers Oppose Proposal To Pay Advance Excise Duty

The truth is when illicit alcohol sneaks its way into the scene, it’s a party crasher of epic proportions. Legitimate manufacturers, distributors, and retailers lose out big time as these back-alley bootleggers offer their untaxed tipples at bargain-basement prices. The government’s revenue takes a massive hit, and the funds that could have built schools, hospitals, and infrastructure evaporate like morning dew in the blazing sun.

As the government loses revenue, it tightens its belt, cutting back on essential services like healthcare and education. With fewer resources available to tackle public health issues, it becomes even harder to address the repercussions of the very same illicit alcohol that sparked the whole mess in the first place.

The real secret ingredient to success in fighting illicit alcohol lies in awareness. It’s up to each one of us to spread the word, educate our communities, and choose our libations wisely. If we support local, legitimate producers and refuse to partake in the dangerous dance of illicit alcohol, we can safeguard both our health and our economy.

But wait, there is something that we are not seeing here. The government is leading the fight against illicit alcohol. Yes. But it is the same government, through retrogressive policies that seems to be fueling the already furnace-hot illicit brew den.

Related Content: Is Closure Of Bars The Only Way To Fight Alcoholism In Central Kenya?

So far, it is estimated that more than 5000 bars, wines, and spirits outlets have been shut down. Most of these businesses that have been shut down are legitimate businesses that have created employment and act as a source of revenue for the government.

In the words of the Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya (ABAK), for instance, the move by the government to compel legal alcohol manufacturers to pay excise duty within 24 hours upon removal of goods from the stockroom is a policy proclamation that will punish innocent players due to failures in managing illicit alcohol in Kenya. If anything, this will have some finding avenues to avoid paying, not because they want to but because they want to sustain their business. It is like the government shooting itself in the foot.

Let us support the war against illicit alcohol but let us be careful not to fuel more illicit brews and kill legitimate businesses.

Related Content: Hail For the Fight Against Illicit Alcohol, But Careful Not To Harm Genuine Businesses




About Juma

Juma is an enthusiastic journalist who believes that journalism has power to change the world either negatively or positively depending on how one uses it.(020) 528 0222 or Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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