The National Bar Owners Association has appealed to the county governments to waive 60 per cent of operating licensing fee to help bar operators keep their businesses afloat amidst the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic.
Through the Association Secretary General, Boniface Gachoka, the bar owners asked the government to allow bars to operate for extra two hours up to 9.00 pm as opposed to 7 pm to ensure sustainability of their businesses.
The call comes even as it emerged that more than 250,000 workers in the beer industry lost their jobs in the last one year following the adverse effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the Kenyan economy.
Gachoka explained that the job losses were occasioned by disruptions caused by the pandemic as the government moved in to contain the spread of the deadly virus with initial order to close all pubs.
Gachoka further disclosed that 20,000 bars owners out of the existing 54,000 across the country were unable to leap back to business due to lack of profitability, culminating in the devastating losses.
Gachoka made the remarks during the launch of a new extra strong lager beer brand by Keroche brewery at its Naivasha plant.
The Secretary General voiced his support for the local beer maker, adding that there was a need to cushion the operators in the beer industry from the losses emanating from unforeseen disasters.
The Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja said the brewery was banking on new innovations to create better experiences for the country’s beer market.
The CEO added that the Company is focusing on variety and quality to ensure each Kenyan consumer could afford and enjoy their beer.
She at the same time said the brewery is also focusing on new innovations that would provide solutions to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ms Karanja said the new Brand X Lager with an alcoholic content of 8.8 per cent reaffirms Keroche’s intention to take the lead in the locally produced strong beer market.
She added that new Brand X lager is targeted at the middle and the upper end market who desire strong, quality and naturally brewed beers.
While calling for government support to contain the third wave of the virus, Karanja said partial reopening of pubs would allow the beer hit industry to retain its workforce and support thousands of families in the business chain.
Karanja called on Kenyans to support local manufactures, noting that only countries that possessed and supported their home industries could survive the economic challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic.
The launch of the new beer adds to the growing catalog in the extra strong beer category by Keroche after it launched a 10 per cent [alcoholic content] Vienna Ice in April to tap in the growing market.
By Erastus Gichohi and Esther Mwangi