More than 9,000 bar licence applications have been rejected as implementation of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act takes root.
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.
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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.
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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.
The new law says 30 per cent of the label should show the harmful effects of alcohol, which manufacturers contest.
Mr Muturi, however, said the court cases were eating into Nacada’s budget and diverting resources that could have been used in fighting the drug menace.
Apart from public health standards, the new law also allows rejection of licence applications from people who have committed offences related to alcohol manufacturing, distribution and sale.
The Act gives the minister powers to determine the maximum number of bars that can be allowed in a region.
“We are working on guidelines to determine this number and it will depend on several factors such as the adult population in the area, geographical dispersion and history of the area,” said Mr Muturi.