The number of bars in Nairobi is set to reduce drastically if a proposal by the County Liquor and Licensing Board is approved by the county assembly.
Proposed law that will affect bars in these 8 Nairobi estates
Cracking whip on Nairobi bars
The new law will cap the number of bars licensed to operate within the city at 3,000 down from the estimated over 12,500 that are currently in business.
According to the board, the proposal is aimed at shutting down a majority of unlicensed bars that are in Umoja, Dandora, Kayole, Kibra, Mathare, Kangemi, Korogosho and Ngomongo.
"If this policy is enforced, then it will affect more than 4,000 bars which according to our investigations do not meet the required operating and health standards," stated the Liquor Board CEO Hesbon Agwena.
Mr Agwena and his team appeared before the Budget and Appropriations Committee led by MCA Robert Mbatia to elaborate on why the revenue collected from bars did not march the number of establishments said to be operating within the city.
Less than 7,200 pubs pay for Permits
Agwena noted that currently less than 7,200 establishments have paid for licenses and permits from the county government.
He also estimated that over 3,000 pubs may have been closed down in the past three or four years.
"The highest number of bars that we have ever collected revenue from are 7,200 in the 2014/2015 financial year, but the number has been decreasing every year," he explained.
Agwena further elaborated that pubs are licensed based on whether they have a plot number, he noted that most establishments within the estates operate illegally in or on top of residential buildings.
"I do not see a reason why you don’t collect revenue from these bars, people are still drinking from there and if you think they don’t meet the criteria they should have been already closed down," one member of the committee Ms Emily Oduor posed.
The CEO had difficulty responding to the query stating that his team was in the process of conducting a fresh audit.
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