Economy

Nairobi County liquor agency on the spot over Sh250m

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The City Hall building in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Nairobi City County Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board is on the spot over failure to disclose how it spends over Sh250 million it generates annually from liquor fees.
  • Piling pressure on the board, which is the only sector at City Hall allowed to spend its revenue at source, Nairobi MCAs are calling for a special audit carried out on the board’s finances.

Nairobi City County Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board is on the spot over failure to disclose how it spends over Sh250 million it generates annually from liquor fees.

Piling pressure on the board, which is the only sector at City Hall allowed to spend its revenue at source, Nairobi MCAs are calling for a special audit carried out on the board’s finances.

The ward representatives said the board has not been submitting annual reports of its operations to the assembly and has also been disregarding summonses to appear before the MCAs.

In a motion by Umoja I MCA Mark Mugambi passed by the assembly yesterday, the city legislators now want the assembly’s Culture and Community Services Committee to take to task the board over money it collects and where the money goes to.

“We want a special audit of revenue generated from the liquor stores and wines and spirits outlets in terms of how much they collect, where the money goes to, how much they use and what programmes they have done within the county and if they are tangible projects,” said Mr Mugambi.

A report by the Controller of Budget (CoB) – County Governments Budget Implementation Review report for the first quarter for the financial year ending June 30, 2021 -- revealed that the board had the highest percentage of the recurrent budget of all City Hall departments at 30.8 percent.

According to the report, the board spent Sh61.7 million in the three months between July and September during the period under review.

In terms of revenue generation, Nairobi County Revenue and Expenditure report tabled at the assembly last week indicated that Sh279.4 million was collected by the board as liquor fees in the last financial year.

The county legislators have also demanded that the money collected by the board be channelled to setting up of a treatment and rehabilitation centre in each of the 17 sub-counties in Nairobi to serve as treatment centres for alcoholics in the capital.

This is in addition to developing programmes geared toward treating and rehabilitating the alcoholics as they raised concern that a sizeable youth population has been turned into zombies by engaging in excessive consumption of alcohol and drug abuse.

Nominated MCA Millicent Jagero said that Section 5 of the Nairobi City County Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Act, 2014 provides, among the functions of the board establishment of treatment and rehabilitation facilities and programmes for persons dependent on alcoholic drinks.

“Part V of the Act establishes a fund which is to be used to promote cessation and rehabilitation programmes in the county,” she said.

In July 2018, the Board announced plans to construct three rehabilitation centers to help curb excessive consumption of alcohol and drug abuse in parts of the city.

The centers were to be constructed in Riruta, Mathare and Jericho with the then Board chairperson Kennedy Odhiambo saying already the procurement process had begun and it was only a matter of time before the tender was awarded in readiness for the start of the construction works. However, nothing came out of the pledge.