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Nairobi County targets increase in bars, revenue

Nairobi City County Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board are seeking to increase the number of licensed liquor outlets by 13,000 between now and 2023, in a bid to improve on its revenue base.

This is after the Board managed to license only 5,163 liquor outlets in the financial year ended June 30, 2021. The plan is to register another 6,000 in the current financial year and a further 7,000 in the next fiscal year.

The plan to increase the number of liquor outlets is part of the Board’s strategy to hit annual revenue collection of Sh290 million from liquor fees.

The Board collected Sh279.4 million in the financial year ended June 30, 2021, surpassing its target of Sh250 million, representing a performance of 112 percent.

This will see the Board step up inspection efforts by inspecting 7,000 liquor premises as it seeks to have control over liquor business in the capital.

In terms of compliance, the Board and its sub-committees in the 17 sub-counties are targeting to increase compliance to 8,000 outlets.

According to the sub-sector’s last financial year’s review, the Board issued 5,163 liquor licences against a target of 6,000 while in terms of compliance only 3,542 outlets complied with liquor regulations against a target of 7,000.

“We want to increase compliance by 7,000 outlets by enhancing compliance and enforcement exercises in all the sub-counties. In the period under review, 3,542 defaulters of liquor regulations were compelled to comply,” read in part the sub-sector’s plan.

The Board’s chief executive officer Hesbon Agwena indicated that in 2020 alone, a staggering 1,648 new liquor outlets were registered.

This represented an increase of 274 percent compared to previous years where the Board registered only 440 liquor stores in 2019 and 430 in 2018.

To realise the ambitious plan, the Board is looking at spending Sh40 million in compliance and enforcement services and another Sh70 million in licensing services.

Another Sh7 million will be spent on carrying out a census of bars in Nairobi in order to identify the number of such outlets as part of enhancing control of the liquor outlets.

The Board has been embroiled in tuff wars since the beginning of the year after Nairobi County Assembly Speaker Benson Mutura, while acting as Nairobi Governor, made sweeping changes to the to the sub-county committees in January.

Mr Mutura sent almost the entire membership of the previous board packing with only one member – Rosalid Nyawira Gichuki – surviving the purge.

He also appointed new sub-county liquor committees leaders.

This led to two petitioners, Erick Kiongora Murigu and Stephen Mwangi, going to court accusing Mr Mutura of breaching the contracts of the board members who were in office at the time he made new appointments.

The court would temporarily bar the new Board from taking over until the case was heard and determined. However, last month, the court temporarily set aside interim orders it issued in February this year.