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Gachagua assures liquor manufacturers of safe business

Keroche Breweries MD, Tabitha Karanja (seated at the center, in a black coat) during a previous presser when Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) shut down Keroche Breweries for tax non-compliance.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has breathed a new life into the dying liquor manufacturers, assuring to again open their companies.

The tough talking Deputy President was speaking during a meeting with Kenya Manufacturers Association (KAM), where he insisted that the former administration had weaponed Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to fight its political wars. In the run-up to the last general elections, the government, under President Uhuru Kenyatta, socked all manner of criticisms from then Deputy President William Ruto’s ‘tangatanga’ faction over what it termed as stifling the economy by closing down some companies, that would otherwise have generated profit for the economy. Among the companies that met the wrath of the taxman was – among others -Tabitha Karanja’s Naivasha-based Keroche breweries.

Others were Thika-based Vinepack Ltd, Big Five Breweries Ltd, Elle Kenya Ltd, Lumat Company Ltd and Tona Brewing Ltd, Thika-based Africa Spirits Ltd – owned by businessman Humphrey Kariuki, Mount Kenya Breweries Ltd, Rift Valley Brewing Company and Wananchi Breweries Ltd, which had been closed over different issues, but mainly tax disputes with KRA.

Mr. Gachagua faulted the immediate former government for using State agencies like KRA to settle political scores with people it (the government) felt were political opponents of Azimio coalition, a political formation which former President Uhuru Kenyatta is the chair. “The issue of closing factories for taxpayers who are suffering is a thing of the past because it is foolish. The issue of tax notices and agency notices where you close accounts, if you shut down an account for six months (and) somebody cannot do business, where will you collect tax the following year? When you shut down a factory, those employees lose their jobs (yet) they were paying Paye Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax, where will you get the money from?” Mr Gachagua wondered.

The abbrassive Deputy President further assured the liquor manufacturers that the current Ruto administration would loose every noose that was designed by the Uhuru-administration to nip liquor manufacturers of their hard earned money and business status. “That factory – Humphrey Kariuki’s Africa Spirits Ltd – was paying about Sh50 million in terms of tax every month. They send policemen there, shut it down, arrested Humphrey Kariuki – a very enterprising Kenyan, an honourable man, a man who has toiled through his life – locked him up for four days with ordinary criminals and KRA lost Sh50 million every month. For three years we have lost a whooping Sh1.8 billion. It was a foolish decision and such things will never happen in the Ruto administration,” Mr Gachagua assured.

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