New alcohol control law could lead to Sh1.5bn loss, industry bosses say

PHOTO | EMMA NZIOKA The regional chairman of the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC), Mr Anthony Njuguna (left), has a word with the regional chairman of Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya (PERAK), Mr Patrick Munya, during a meeting where industry stakeholders expressed concern over proposed changes to the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act.

What you need to know:

  • Banning sale of alcohol two days before polls — Saturday and Sunday — will have a big impact on sector, tourism and other areas, says KAHC

The hospitality industry is set to lose Sh1.5 billion if the government invokes a ban on sale of alcohol two days before elections. (Read: Parliament set to ban drinking two days before polls)

The Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC) on Monday said that if passed into law, the proposed Alcoholic Drinks Control (Amendment) Bill, 2012 will erode gains the sector has made over the years, especially during weekends when most outlets record high alcohol sales.

“The figures I have highlighted (Sh1.5 billion) are actually modest. Banning sale of alcohol during those days will have an impact not just on alcohol sellers but on other areas like tourism,” said Mr Mike Macharia, chief executive of the Hotel Keepers and Caterers Association.

The next General Election is set to take place on a Monday, meaning that should the proposed amendments to the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act 2010 come into force, outlets will not sell alcohol on Saturday and Sunday.

Industry stakeholders are opposed to the proposed amendments to the alcohol law, saying that if passed, it will dilute the purpose for which the existing alcohol control law was made and impact negatively on legitimate alcohol sellers and manufacturers.

“The elections will be on Monday. Two days before Monday is weekend, and those are the busiest days businesses receive their revenues. This is a way of killing businesses and increasing unemployment,” said Bar Owners Association chairman Patrick Muya.

The existing law, popularly known as Mututho Law, was introduced in 2010 with the aim of stopping manufacturing of illicit brews and instilling sanity in the alcohol market through a host of regulations on manufacturing, marketing and consumption of alcoholic drinks.

Since its introduction, the law has evoked mixed reactions, including stiff opposition from alcoholic drinks’ manufacturers who have argued that some provisions of the law are affecting their sales.

Apart from stakeholders in the hospitality industry, beer marketers and distributors have threatened to seek legal redress if the proposed amendments are passed into law.

Other proposals in the alcohol Bill include the setting up of an Alcohol Drinks Promotion Regulation Committee, which will be responsible for vetting of all alcohol advertisements.

It also proposes a ban on alcohol promotion that encourages drinking in order to win an award, in addition to making it illegal to sell alcohol at work places, among other proposals.

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