‘60% of alcohol sold in Kenya is counterfeit’ – ABAK

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 23 May, 2024 11:18 | 2 mins read
Counterfeit alcohol in Murang'a
Murang'a CIPU commander Jeremiah Abuya(left) county commissioner Joshua Nkanatha and police commander David Kainga inspecting some of the equipment that were being used to process counterfeit liqour at a private residence in Gatanga. PHOTO/Wangari Njuguna

60 per cent of all alcohol sold in Kenyan stores is illicit, the chairman of the Alcoholic Beverages Association of Kenya (ABAK) Eric Githua has said.

Speaking during the K24 TV morning show, Githua stated that the majority of the alcoholic beverages in the country were questionable and that the proposed tax law could exacerbate the problem.

In the new proposed law, the spirits excise tax is set to shoot by 79 per cent. The current rate is Ksh356 per litre of spirit and if passed this could reach Ksh640.

"The tax proposal is quite high and the government should consider staggering its implementation over a couple of years," Githua said.

The association's chair also added that the high cost of legitimate alcohol was directly linked to the proliferation of illicit brews that continue to claim lives in the country.

Kenya's alcohol problem

National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) data of 2023 shows at least 4.7 million Kenyans aged 15 to 65 use at least one substance, 3.2 million use or abuse alcohol, 2.3 million others use tobacco, 1.7 million take a cocktail of multiple drugs while 964,737 and 518,807 others use Khat and cannabis respectively.

“Data shows that the average age category for initiation of tobacco, alcohol, khat, cannabis, prescription drugs, cocaine and heroin was 16 to 20 years," the report reads in part.

In the report, among secondary school students, alcohol was the most abused substance, used by 3.8 per cent of the learners. It was followed by prescription drugs at 3.6 per cent and khat, tobacco and bhang in that order with a prevalence of 2.6, 2.5 and 1.8 per cent.

Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga and Mathira MP Eric Wamumbi lead Mathira residents in destroying the seized alcohol in Mathira.
Nyeri Senator Wahome Wamatinga and Mathira MP Eric Wamumbi lead Mathira residents in destroying the seized alcohol in Mathira. PHOTO/Loise Wambugu

This comes against a backdrop of an intense campaign by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua against illicit alcohol particularly in the Mt Kenya region.

"We are almost losing an entire generation. Nobody will be allowed to sell poison in the name of alcohol to our young people," Gachagua noted during one of his campaigns against alcoholism," Gachagua said while speaking in Roysambu.

"There is no pride in leading a drunken nation, people with broken families."

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