CSOs now push for more punitive taxes to tame alcohol abuse in Kenya

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A section of activists in Kisumu now want the government to escalate punitive taxes in a bid to tame alcohol use and sale.

The activists from various public health driven civil society organisations argue that this is the best way to fight alcohol and drug abuse in the country.

The calls come at a time the government has staged a fight against alcohol abuse which has since become a menace in the country.

Speaking in Kisumu, the activists noted that they will be approaching the National Assembly with a raft of recommendations aimed at boosting the fight against alcohol abuse, top of the list being punitive taxes.

As such, we note that the current excise rates on beer, wines, and spirits are Sh142.44 per litre, Sh243.43 per litre, and Sh356.42 per litre, respectively. We recommend that the rates be at least increased by Sh56.98 per litre, Sh97.37 per litre and Sh142.56 per litre, respectively, for beer, wines, and spirits.

The joint statement

A joint statement signed by Benjamin Odhiambo, Programs Officer, Students Campaign Against Drugs (SCAD), Brian Magwaro, Manager Blue Cross Kenya, Lilian Gitau, Executive Director, Renaissance Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, proposed increased excise taxes on alcoholic drinks and beverages on the grounds of them being unhealthy products.

“As such, we note that the current excise rates on beer, wines, and spirits are Sh142.44 per litre, Sh243.43 per litre, and Sh356.42 per litre, respectively. We recommend that the rates be at least increased by Sh56.98 per litre, Sh97.37 per litre and Sh142.56 per litre, respectively, for beer, wines, and spirits,” the statement read in part.

This would push the new excise rates for beer, wine, and spirit to Sh199.42, Sh340.80, and Sh498.99, respectively.

They want money raised from these taxes to be fully directed to alcohol control-related programs on prevention, rehabilitation, public education and awareness creation to enhance public health.

“We remain cognizant of the great efforts being initiated by the Government led by His Excellency President Ruto, His Excellency Deputy President Gachagua, the Cabinet, NACADA, and all government agencies.,” the statement went on.

Legal and Administrative measures

They also vouched for enhanced legal and administrative measures to curb the increased, porous, and uncontrollable online marketing of alcoholic beverages and drinks, which they noted, expose vulnerable populations like a drink to initiate the consumption of alcohol, and ultimately ruining their health and lives to the detriment of death.

“As such, we specifically call for a total ban on online promotion and advertisement in the regular internet-based applications and social media platforms,” said Magwaro.

In its 2022 report on the national prevalence of alcohol consumption in Kenya, the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) noted that 3.2 million Kenyans consume alcohol.

“Recently, we have witnessed uncountable deaths associated with alcohol in the media- and we believe there are more unreported cases. This situation makes alcohol a cancer in our body politic, which must be strictly addressed,” said Odhiambo.

Kevine Omollo
Kevine Omollo
Lake Region Bulletin is your one stop multi-media platform for news from Lake Region Counties of Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, Nandi, Kericho and Bomet. Email: komollo@lakeregionbulletin.co.ke omollokevine@gmail.com

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