The price of alcohol is set to increase drastically if Parliament passes a proposal to amend the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act.
The bill, tabled in Parliament by Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako, seeks to change the minimum quantities of alcoholic beverages for sale from 250ml to 750ml.
“The principal object of this Bill is to amend the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act, in order to ensure that the packaging of alcoholic drinks is in quantities not below 750ml.Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako speaking to journalistsFile
“This is in order to deal with the menace of excessive drinking occasioned by the sale of very low quantities of alcoholic drinks, making it accessible to the youth,” the bill reads.
Currently, beer is packaged in minimum quantities of 500ml and 300ml while hard liquor is packaged in bottles of at least 250ml bottles.
Alcoholic beverages manufacturers have opposed the proposed regulations, citing that it would result in a number of undesirable effects.
The firms will be forced to recalibrate their manufacturing processes and order for new bottles to suit the recommendations.
This means that the price of beer is set to increase from Ksh 190 to Ksh 285 per bottle.
The stakeholders have also expressed fears of the re-emergence of illegal brews caused by the increase in the price of alcohol.
“Our volumes will drop because even now we have the 750ml brands but the sales are low. Beer and spirits will be inaccessible to low-income Kenyans.
“Even now, most people will buy the quarter and share, so who will afford the 750ml?” a spokesperson from one of the leading manufacturers told the media.
The firms will also have to contend with the slow economic recovery caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The new proposal comes just as Interior CS Fred Matiang’i assembled a team that is going to oversee a crackdown on the alcoholic beverages industry.
In a gazette notice published on Friday, November 27, Matiang’i stated that the newly created National Alcohol Control Committee will be chaired by Interior PS Karanja Kibicho, and will include AG Paul Kihara, DCI George Kinoti and DPP Noodin Haji.
Other members of the committee include Health PS Susan Mochache, Youth Affairs PS Julius Korir, KEBS MD Bernard Njiraini, KRA Director-General James Mburu among other government officials.
According to the terms of reference, the team shall carry out regular audits on manufacturers of alcoholic drinks to ensure sustained compliance with quality standards and any other regulatory requirements.
The committee shall conduct joint inspections of all premises manufacturing alcoholic drinks for purposes of ensuring compliance with relevant laws.
The team shall be in charge of approving package labels for all the registered alcoholic brands and eliminate substandard and counterfeit alcoholic drinks and products in the country.Two mugs of beer on a counter top in a bar.File
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