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Raila defends Keroche after KRA announced shut down

Raila disagreed with the move by KRA saying it was bad for business

Raila defends Keroche after Keroche announced shut down

Azimio One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga has come to the defense of Keroche Breweries Limited after the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) announced it was shutting down its operations.

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Raila said one way of making the economy thrive was through the creation of an enabling environment for the private sector to operate adding that closure of a business over tax was not a solution.

“Don’t kill Keroche, the private sector is the engine for economic growth worldwide and therefore our government is going to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive,“ Odinga said.

Raila said the evasion of taxes came as a result of taxes being very high making those supposed to pay them unable to do business.

The former prime minister added that the shutting down of businesses not only killed the investors but also the employees who depended on the businesses.

“If taxes are too high, there is a tendency to evade them but if they are low and they are manageable people will pay so what you need to do is to widen the net and allow the people to pay. Tell them if you cant pay tax today then pay tomorrow,” Raila stated.

The sentiments by Odinga come after the Kenya Revenue Authority shut down the brewer over tax arrears.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Ms Karanja said that KRA accused the company of violating an earlier agreement to pay tax arrears.

She added that more than 400 workers will be affected by the closure and beer worth Sh350 million could go to waste.

The company has however denied that it defaulted on the tax repayment plan that had been agreed upon. Earlier in March, Keroche Breweries struck a deal with KRA allowing it to reopen after closure due to tax arrears.

In the agreement, Keroche committed to paying Sh957 million in two years. The deal saved the company which owes in excess of Sh22 billion in tax arrears from permanently shutting down.

KRA also lifted a notice sent to 36 banks cautioning them against lending the breweries money. Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja had raised concern that the firm was on the verge of sending home over 250 workers and pouring alcohol worth over Sh512 million that is currently stored in tanks.

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