Thousands to Lose Jobs After Sakaja Ban on Clubs & Bars

A photo collage of Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja and a Disc Jockey(DJ) at an event.
Selectah Kerry, Johnson Sakaja

Pubs, Entertainment, and Restaurant Association of Kenya (PERAK) announced that the ban on city nightclubs by Governor Johnson Sakaja will lead to the loss of at least 23,000 permanent and temporary jobs.

The association decried the move by the county government indicating that it is likely to affect between 400 and 500 business establishments within the city

According to PERAK, the industry contributes over Ksh880 million in monthly wages for employees and workers across the city.

PERAK also indicated that about 800 Disc Jockeys (DJs) who heavily rely on the entertainment industry, earning more than Ksh40 million per night, are at risk of losing their livelihoods.

A photo of Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurant Association of Kenya (PERAK) officials during a press briefing.

"Each nightclub operates with 3 DJs who entertain patrons with each DJ earning roughly Ksh50,000 per night. Clubs will have to lay off 2 out of the 3 DJs," the association detailed in a press statement.

The association indicated that nightclubs will have to scale down operations and lay off about 50 percent of their permanent and 100 percent of their temporary staff following the ban on nightclub licenses.

PERAK further claimed that the ban will cost the county Ksh1.6 billion every month in indirect employment income from the 73,000 indirect jobs that are likely to be negatively affected. 

Among the indirect jobs to be affected include businesses such as smokie and Mutura vendors, supermarkets, and even commercial sex workers. 

Elsewhere, Bar Hotels Liquor Traders Association (BAHLITA) National Chairperson, Simon Njoroge, has written to City Hall requesting a sit-down with the governor over the ban. 

The proprietors were also hopeful of meeting members of the community through the Nyumba Kumi Association heads to resolve the stalemate.

"We are not recommending noise in our neighborhoods, but we must remember that these are businesses and there are investors who are employing Kenyans and paying taxes," Njoroge lamented.

Njoroge claimed that the crackdowns on entertainment joints will escalate corruption in the county through extortion of legitimate business owners.

The bar owners predicted that the ban on licenses will negatively impact sales and take the industry back to the dark Covid-19 pandemic days when alcohol consumption declined.

The caucus recommended that non-compliant joints be granted more time to soundproof their businesses rather than shutting them down.

Revellers at Club 1824 in Lang'ata on May 20, 2022.
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