How we went from making Sh500M to below Sh50M - Tabitha Karanja

Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja expresses the pain of waking up to lay off over 400 workers and disposing beer worth Sh350 million.

Aspiring Nakuru Senator and Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja accompanied by Gilgil MP Martha Wangari

Keroche Breweries CEO Tabitha Karanja has expressed the pain of watching more than 400 jobs being put on the line as well as the disposal of alcohol worth hundreds of millions after its closure by KRA.

In a statement on Monday, Ms Karanja revealed how the company went from making close to Sh500 million per month to below Sh50 million.

The dwindling revenues have compounded the brewer's cash flow problems, resulting in defaulting of tax payments to the Kenya Revenue Authority.

It's good to note that as KRA applies the Excise duty Act to close down the company, the excise duty arrears amount to only about Sh195 million, of which we defaulted on only one instalment of Sh30 million for April 2022,” she said.

The businesswoman also asked for more time to pay a Sh500 million payment that was negotiated in December 2021 and due six months after.

During the two years of Covid-19, the company ensured that the livelihood of its employees was sustained which really strained its resources. The post-Covid effects and the on/off closures of the company’s factory by KRA have left the company a shadow of the pre-Covid establishment,” Ms Karanja stated.

She thanked Deputy President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja Presidential candidate Raila Odinga for overlooking their political differences and supporting her plight.

The CEO expressed how much the closure had taken a toll on her and she would break the news to her employees.

I was thinking aloud on Sunday afternoon and pondering how I will relay the painful message to our employees on Monday that we will be laying them off as a result of KRA's closure.

I was also at pains as I looked at all the beer in the tanks that we shall be forced to drain to waste and wondered why and how the following relevant ministries remain so indifferent to the dire consequences of the current closure of the company’s factor,” she said.

She called on the Ministry of Labour and Social Services, National Treasury, Ministry of Trade as well as the Ministry of Interior to play their part in protecting jobs and local businesses from unfair policies by KRA.

It is my humble request that all the relevant authorities be requested to rise to the occasion in order to amicably resolve the current issue and further protect and create a conducive and enabling environment even for other industries that may be suffering in silence.

Finally, we would be happy to have an audience with the Commissioner-General of KRA in order to once again articulate our predicaments as we seek the moratorium,” she concluded

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