Politics and policy

9,000 bar licence requests fail under new alcohol laws

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Bar attendants in Nairobi. Of the 33,486 licence applications made countrywide by May 30 this year, 9,372 were rejected while 24,114 were approved. Photo/File

Bar attendants in Nairobi. Of the 33,486 licence applications made countrywide by May 30 this year, 9,372 were rejected while 24,114 were approved. Photo/File 

By NGONDI MBURU

Posted  Tuesday, May 29  2012 at  20:33

More than 9,000 bar licence applications have been rejected as implementation of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act takes root.

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The applications were rejected by various district committees mandated to implement the law.

Nacada’s senior manager for programmes, John Muturi, said licensing was helping in the war against alcoholism by locking out operators who do not meet the laid down standards.

“We are not preventing anyone from doing business but you must meet certain standards so that you don’t create health hazards and affect people negatively,” said Mr Muturi.

Of the 33,486 licence applications made countrywide by May 30 this year, 9,372 were rejected while 24,114 were approved.

Inspection on applicants was carried out by Nacada along with the police, Kenya Revenue Authority, the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Government Chemist.

Most of those denied licence did not meet public health standards.

In Central Province where alcoholism has become a major social and economic problem, the number of bars has gone down by more than 50 per cent in the last five years as government steps up effort to curb the menace.

Central PC Japhter Rugut said from 9,000 bars in 2006, the number had come down to about 4,000 this year.

Implementation of the new law has, however, been threatened following filing of 36 court cases against Nacada by alcohol manufacturers, distributors and bar owners who are contesting sections of the new law.

Bar owners are contesting operating hours, fees charged and licensing while manufacturers are contesting packaging and labelling.

The Act says distilled alcohol should only be packed in glass bottles and prohibits the use of plastic bottles.

Last weekend, Keroche Industries unveiled a glass packaging line and decried the new cost burden on investors.

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