Kindiki throws brewers into a fresh round of disruption

In a sweeping set of orders aimed at curbing substance and drug abuse across Kenya, investors in the liquor industry are facing a state of chaos following directives by Interior CS Kithure Kindiki targeting various players in the value chain.

The directives, which include stringent measures such as establishing traceability of products, installing quality control laboratories, and shutting down outlets operating in prohibited areas, are set to have a profound impact on the liquor industry.

One of the key directives issued by Prof Kindiki is for all alcohol manufacturers in Kenya will be an initiative to adopt digital tax stamps and subsequent withdrawal of physical stamps, a move aimed at tackling the menace of fake stamps.

Distillers are also required to establish and document all traders in their distribution chain across the country. This is over and above having procedures in place to ensure full traceability of products from the factory floor to the end consumers. This move aims to increase accountability and transparency within the industry.

Furthermore, all alcoholic products are now required to include traceability information, such as manufacturer details, location, and their ingredients in an effort aimed at enhancing consumer safety.

In a move likely to unsettle investors, Prof Kindiki has directed all manufacturers to seek fresh licenses, a process that will require them to purchase and install Quality Control (QC) laboratories complete with Gas Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detector (FID).

The licensing will also require companies to demonstrate that their QC labs are operated by competent laboratory analysts to test incoming raw materials and finished products before releasing them to the market.

The directives also require licensed manufacturers to furnish County Security Teams with the geo-location and physical details of their licensed premises, as well as stock records per licensed premises.

Read also: Taxes, bad laws driving illicit alcohol trade — lobbies

State officers running bars ordered to shut them down

Any other physical premises stocking, manufacturing, or housing manufactured stocks will be deemed illegal, leading to destruction.

To prevent diversion and/or accidental use of industrial ethanol in the manufacture of alcohol, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has been directed to ensure that all industrial ethanol is denatured or marked with a denaturing agent (denatonium benzoate) within 45 days.

In a bid to ensure compliance, all public officers in the enforcement-cum-compliance chain, including those from KRA, KEBS, ACA, Public Health, NACADA, NGAO, and NPS, are prohibited from owning and operating a bar directly or via proxy, Prof. Kindiki announced.

Those currently operating such premises are required to shut them down or resign from the service with immediate effect, he added.

Additionally, the new measures outlaw the importation, manufacture, sale, use, advertisement, promotion, or distribution of shisha. Any entertainment joints caught in breach of this provision will be closed immediately, noted the CS.

For investors in bars and clubs, Prof Kindiki has ordered county security teams to close down all outlets operating within residential areas and schools, declaring their licenses null and void.

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