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Will President Uhuru save Keroche Breweries?

To kindly but urgently request the re-opening of our plant to prevent huge losses as described above and enable us resume production, sales and distribution and most importantly protect and safeguard the livelihoods of thousands of Kenyans employed by the company both directly and indirectly.

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Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja.PHOTO/Official Facebook.

Here is the full statement by Keroche Breweries.

KEROCHE BREWERIES STATEMENT ON BUSINESS OPERATIONS DISRUPTIONS AND THE NEED FOR CREATION OF AN ENABLING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES POST COVID.

Preamble:

We wish to start by commending the Jubilee Government for the commendable work done during its two terms. This is evident from the peace the country has enjoyed and the big-ticket projects completed on the infrastructure front not forgetting the growth of the economy from a low of 3% to about 6%.

However, mid-stream the second term of the government, an unprecedented global pandemic in the name of Covid 19 hit the whole world. To be precise, the first case of Covid 19 was diagnosed in Kenya in March 2020. The effects of the pandemic were not only on loss of lives but serious erosion of the business environment leading to closure of businesses, loss of employment and the attendant income among other effects.
The government put some temporary measures in an attempt to mitigate the effects of Covid 19.

Some of the measures included reduction in standard VAT rate from 16% to 14%, Corporate tax rate from 30% to 25% and pushing up the minimum taxable threshold for individuals for PAYE purposes. Though the gesture was appreciated, it did not reduce the pain caused by the pandemic to the expected level.

The above measures were withdrawn in 2021 when the pandemic was still on the increase. As we got into 2022, the cases of Covid 19 started going down but the post Covid 19 effects are being felt harder. The effects are being aggravated by the current political climate as we get closer to the August 2022 General Elections.

The government should re-evaluate the post Covid effects and the impact they have on the different sectors of the economy in order to formulate policy measures that will rejuvenate the players and by extension the economy. Without re-inventing the wheel, the government can borrow a leaf from the west where businesses have been extended grants, tax breaks, moratoriums and low interest loans.

Reality of Covid 19 pandemic impact ; case in Point-Keroche Breweries Ltd:

While the above summary sounds abstract, the economic effects have severely affected most local enterprises since they have not been fully cushioned by the government policies through its agents whom in as much are exercising their mandates should do so with consideration of the realities on the ground. We strongly believe our struggles mirrors the sentiments and struggles of many other local businesses that are suffering in silence without an avenue or platform to air their grievances unlike multi nationals cushioned by their parent companies/ countries.

Keroche breweries appreciates the support accorded by the government through its agent the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), who are mandated to implement the tax policies and collect taxes on behalf of the government.

However, we wish to highlight the run offs with KRA leading to closures of the company’s factory at Naivasha. The ground for closure was due to outstanding tax arrears of Kshs.322 Million that accrued from February 2021. Failure to be up to date on the payments was explained to KRA as low business leading to poor cashflows that could not fully meet all the cash obligations of the company (taxes, utilities, salaries, suppliers, etc). We subsequently entered into a proposed payment plan with KRA but we could not manage to honour the same due to frequent interruptions by KRA:

1) On 7th December 2021 KRA closed the factory and further issued agency notices to 36 Banks in Kenya. This completely collapsed all our business operations since we could neither produce ,sale nor access any financing from any of the banks to assist in settling the arrears. We started negotiating for a payment plan and we requested for a 24 monthly instalments based on our financial projections which KRA rejected and insisted on six monthly instalments .We proceeded with their proposal although we knew it was unrealistic since we wanted to have our plant re-opened and we were desperate to take our products in the market during the festive season.

2) On 22nd December 2021 KRA re-opened, but unfortunately, the earliest our products could reach the market was on 27th December 2021.We only managed to sell for three days till the end of the year but KRA were on our case demanding for the arrears according to the payment plan. We remitted Kshs. 10 Million which was available in our accounts then; which to them was insufficient.

3) On 10th January 2022 KRA again shut down the factory and we re- negotiated the payment plan (24-installment) which they still rejected.

4) On 15th January 2022, after another round of back and forth discussions, KRA re-opened the plant. For us to go into production we needed revenue stamps which we had to apply and it took a further one week to get approval and issuance from KRA. We therefore started production on 22nd January 2022 and even before these products reached our markets KRA struck again.

5) On 31st January 2022, KRA closed the plant once again. In such circumstances of operating less than a week, it was impossible for us to raise the amount of money KRA were demanding. We managed to make a further payment of Kshs. 2.5 Million within the short period we were in operation. At this point they refused to accept further negotiations and the office of the Commissioner-Domestic Taxes Department, advised us that their hands were tied and we should seek support from the office of the Commissioner General.

Since then we have been trying to reach and even going to his office but we have been unable to reach him for his intervention. From 1st February 2022 to date, we have remained closed and yet we have over 2Million litres of beer worth about Kshs 512 Million in our tanks which have fixed costs to a tune of about Kshs 30 Million required to maintain the same monthly.

This has drained all our resources and unfortunately if nothing is done in the next seven days, we will be forced to drain down all the beer and lay down over 250 direct employees and thousands within our nationwide distribution network.
The recent closures of the factory by KRA have created a lot of uncertainty on the company’s operations and future plans which if not addressed are likely to result to:

i) Loss of 2 million Litres of beer in the tanks under fermentation worth Kshs.512 Million.

ii) Loss of 250 direct jobs originating from all over Kenya whose livelihoods depend on the existence of the company.

iii) Loss of income to thousands of Kenyans who are indirectly involved in the distribution network.

iv) Erosion of the Investors confidence both Local and Foreign
v) Killing of our local industries leaving the Multinationals to monopolize our economy (killing of the goose that lays the golden egg).
It is important to recognize the contribution the company has made to the Kenyan economy from the time of its inception;
i) Creation of direct and indirect jobs.
ii) Breaking of the monopoly by Multinationals in the Alcoholic beverages sector and spearheading the eradication of unhygienic drinks which are a health hazard to Kenyans.
iii) Contribution of over Kshs.30 Billion in taxes to the Exchequer.
iv) Putting the Nakuru County and by extension Kenya on the Global map due to the latest 21st Century brewing technology.

Our Humble Appeal to His Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya, our beloved mother land:

In view of the above state of affairs, Keroche breweries seeks your indulgence as follows;

1) Assurance of a certain operating environment free from any harassment through closure on premise of issues that can be amicably handled administratively.

2) To kindly but urgently request the re-opening of our plant to prevent huge losses as described above and enable us resume production, sales and distribution and most importantly protect and safeguard the livelihoods of thousands of Kenyans employed by the company both directly and indirectly.

3) Request KRA to give the company 12 months grace period on the taxes in arrears. However, the company will continue paying the current taxes as they fall due.This indulgence will enable the company to recover from its current financial woes, be able to settle all its outstanding liabilities and to have a new lease of life.

And to our Parliament:

We beseech you formulate laws that extensively protect and cushion local enterprises such as mandating the CS Treasury and Planning to give waivers or moratoriums especially during such difficult times brought about by a global pandemic.

Win-win Scenario

A positive consideration of this appeal will be a win for both the company and KRA and by extension the government.

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Nakuru

Governor Kihika mourns Lawyer Kiplenge

Governor Kihika said Kiplenge will be remembered as a soft-spoken but sharp lawyer who diligently undertook his assignments.

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Juma Kiplenge

Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika has sent a message of condolence to the family, friends and relatives of advocate, Juma Kiplenge.

In her message, Governor Kihika said Kiplenge will be remembered as a soft-spoken but sharp lawyer who diligently undertook his assignments.

“His passing on has robbed Nakuru of a son who purposed to right wrongs and conscientiously represented his clients,” she stated in her message.

She added that the firebrand lawyer will especially be remembered for his role in advocating for the rights of the marginalized Ogiek community.

Juma passed away on Friday, October 7, 2022, while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Nairobi following a short illness.

The body has since been transferred to Umash Funeral Home in Nakuru awaiting burial on Friday, October 14.

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List of newly elected MCAs in Nakuru County

The following are the Nakuru County elected MCAs following the 9th August General elections. The United Democratic Alliance party (UDA) got the most number of seats at 39

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The new County Asssembly of Nakuru chambers

The following are the Nakuru County elected MCAs following the 9th August General elections. The United Democratic Alliance party (UDA) got the most number of seats at 39. The Jubilee party managed 6 seats, while the Safina party won 1 seat. Seven of the MCAs were elected as independent candidates. Out of the 55 elected MCAs, 8 are women.

Naivasha Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. Maiella – Gituku Jane Wanjiru (UDA)
  2. 2. Naivasha East – Stanley Karanja (UDA)
  3. 3. Maai Mahiu – Eliud Kamau Chege (UDA)
  4. 4. Biashara – Elijah Mwaura (UDA)
  5. 5. Viwandani – Mwangi Muraya (UDA)
  6. 6. Lakeview – Alex Mbugua (UDA)
  7. 7. Hellsgate – Virginia Gichanga (Jubilee)
  8. 8. Ol’Karia – Peter Wanjala Palang’a (ODM)

Gilgil Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 9. Gilgil – Rose Njoroge (UDA)
  2. 10. Malewa – Francis Mungai Kuria (UDA)
  3. 11. Eburru Baruk – Michael Gathanwa (UDA)
  4. 12. Elementaita – George Nene (Safina)
  5. 13. Morendat – Peter Njoroge (UDA)

Subukia Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 14. Subukia – Isabella Makori (UDA)
  2. 15. Waseges – Elijah Murage (Independent)
  3. 16. Kabazi – George Talam (UDA)

Bahati Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 17. Bahati – Grace Mwathi (UDA)
  2. 18. Kabatini – Leah Ng’ang’a (Independent)
  3. 19. Kiamaina – Paul Waweru Warege (Ka Wambui) (UDA)
  4. 20. Dundori – James Gathuita Mwangi (UDA)
  5. 21. Lanet Umoja -Mwangi Ngarama (UDA)

Nakuru Town East Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 22. Nakuru East – Anthony Kamau (UDA)
  2. 23. Menengai – Wilson Mwangi (Jubilee)
  3. 24. Flamingo – David Kihumba Muraya (Independent)
  4. 25. Biashara – Fadhili Msuri (UDA)
  5. 26. Kivumbini – Neto Sakwa Alukutsa (Independent)

Nakuru Town West Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 27. Rhoda – John Macharia (UDA)
  2. 28. London – Benard Gattuso (Jubilee)
  3. 29. Barut – Ben Kirui (UDA)
  4. 30. Kapkures – Robert Ruto (UDA)
  5. 31. Kaptembwa – Peter Kanjwang’ (ODM)
  6. 32. Shabaab – Macharia Wathiai (UDA)

Rongai Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 33.Solai – Nixon Morogo (Independent)
  2. 34. Soin – Ellibas Naburuki (Degualle) (UDA)
  3. 35. Mosop – Dr. Alex Lang’at (UDA)
  4. 36. Menengai West – Isaac Kiptisya Rottok (UDA)
  5. 37. Visoi – Hellen Chemutai (UDA)

Njoro Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 38. Njoro – Hezy Ndung’u (Independent)
  2. 39. Nessuit – Samuel Tonui (UDA)
  3. 40. Mauche – Moses Koros (UDA)
  4. 41. Mau Narok – Cyrus Dida (UDA)
  5. 42. Kihingo – Simon Kamau Karanja (Jubilee)
  6. 43. Lare – Phillip Wanjohi (Jubilee)

Molo Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 44. Molo – Joseph Ngware (UDA)
  2. 45. Marioshoni – Ben Lang’at (UDA)
  3. 46. Elburgon – David Njuguna (Independent)
  4. 47. Turi – John Mwangi Macharia (Jubilee)

Kuresoi South Constituency MCAs 2022

  1. 48. Keringet – William Mutai (UDA)
  2. 49. Tinet – Paul Lang’at Alvin (Drilit) (UDA)
  3. 51. Kiptangich – Rose Mutai (UDA)
  4. 52. Amalo – Robert Lang’at (UDA)

Kuresoi North Constituency UDA MCA nominees

  1. 53. Sirikwa – Emmanuel Lang’at (UDA)
  2. 54. Kamara – Joseph Kipng’etich (Chemutwet) (UDA)
  3. 55. Kiptororo – Alex Bor (Kipyek) (UDA)

 

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Nakuru to host World Bee Day celebrations

The Apimondia Regional Commission (ARC) President, Mr David Mukomana, in a statement, said the three-day program will include technical tours to see beekeeping within Nakuru County and any other areas, exhibitions, seminars and the actual celebrations.

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Bees on a honey comb

Nakuru City will this year host the Regional World Bee Day (WBD) celebrations from the 18th – to the 20th of May 2022.

The yearly event is commemorated to raise awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators for humanity in food security, global hunger eradication, and environmental and biodiversity conservation.

Under the theme; “Bee engaged: Celebrating the contribution of bees to the environment, food security and income generation to mankind.”

The forum will share knowledge from across the world, and draw the attention of the public and decision-makers to the importance of protecting bees as well as halting the further loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems following the Paris Agreement.

FAO estimates that bees contribute to the pollination of food worth between $ 235 and $ 580 billion every year and that their decline continues to strain food systems.

Intensive farming practices, excessive use of agrochemicals, habitat loss, and adverse effects of climate among other issues have been identified as key hindrances causing the depopulation of bees and loss of colonies.

With such challenges, there is a need to come up with solutions that are resistive to the increasing bee population globally.

According to FAO, Kenya ranks third in Africa after Tanzania which is the largest producer of honey and produces approximately 31,405 tonnes annually while Angola ranks second producing about 23,500 tonnes annually.

As of 2020, Kenya’s production of honey was at 17,801 tonnes, up from 13,877 tonnes the previous year, this is a change of 28.28%.

Speaking during a past apiculture stakeholders’ workshop, State Department for Livestock Production Principal Secretary, Mr Harry Kimtai, expressed concern that new pests and farm pesticides have hit colonies hard.

“We’re collaborating with devolved units to halt the alarming depletion of bee colonies. Bee colony multiplication initiatives include capacity building, beekeeping equipment distribution, and bee bulking,” revealed PS Kimtai.

Despite the potential of honey production and the benefits of apicultural activity, very little income accrues from the activity.

The government in its progress, in the Big Four Agenda on 100% food and nutrition security, is committed to enhancing honey production from 25,000 tonnes to 38,000 tonnes by the year 2022.

Beekeeping offers an alternative source of livelihood and protects biodiversity and should ideally be established away from human interaction with enough bee forage and all-year-round availability of water to provide favourable conditions for beekeeping.

Nakuru County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Immaculate Maina, says that, ‘’bees have become increasingly endangered with one million species facing extinction. Thus, beekeeping should be embraced as an alternative environmentally friendly income-earning enterprise.”

‘’We hope that by hosting this event, we will be able to proactively assist in the opening up of our county by giving marketing opportunities and investment prospects in the apiculture industry,” Dr Maina noted.

“We also anticipate important topics discussed during the three-day forum, such as the role of women in the sector as those most affected by climate change, solutions to save our bee species from extinction, and how we can continue to rely on pollinators to save us from the current climate crisis,” she concluded.

Acting CEO of the Apiculture Platform of Kenya (APK), Mr Frederick Otieno Odera, says that beekeeping has significant potential in Africa to improve rural incomes and diversify livelihoods.

“We hope the commemoration of the National World Bee Day will showcase new technologies and sustainable measures from across the world in the apiculture industry and provide sustainable solutions to save our bees in the current climate crisis,” said Otieno.

The Apimondia Regional Commission (ARC) President, Mr David Mukomana, in a statement, said the three-day program will include technical tours to see beekeeping within Nakuru County and any other areas, exhibitions, seminars and the actual celebrations.

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