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Keroche Breweries announces lay-offs following tax dispute

Keroche Breweries Chief Executive Tabitha Karanja says she’ll be forced to lay off 400 workers if a solution to the long-standing tax dispute between her firm and the government is not arrived at.

In a series of tweets, the businesswoman and politician adds there is a possibility she will dispose of the alcohol stored in the company’s tanks, signaling a huge loss.

She’s also thanked Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga for putting aside their political difference to support her business from what she says is an affront from President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.

She spoke as the government announced it will, for the second time in three months, close down the beer manufacturer after accusing it of defaulting on tax arrears.

“I was in pain as I looked at the beer in the tanks that we shall be forced to drain to waste and wondered why and how relevant ministries remained so indifferent to the dire consequences of the current closure of the company’s factory,” she said.

She’s also dismissed claims by the Tax regulator that the alcohol manufacturing company was a non-compliant taxpayer who has been ignoring their tax obligations while seeking an audience with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) boss Githii Mburu.

She’s also linked the economic woes facing the firm with the Covid-19 pandemic after effects, as well as the high cost of living and manufacturing.