2 April 2019

Kenya: Shocker to Revellers - Number of Bars in Nairobi to Be Capped At 3, 000

Photo: Darren Taylor/VOA
(file photo).

Nairobi County will have only 3, 000 bars if a proposal by the County Liquor and Licensing Board is adopted and passed by the County Assembly into law.

The proposal is contained in a policy being prepared by the board and is set to be presented to the Assembly in two months time.

Appearing before a County Assembly Budget and Appropriation committee on Monday, Nairobi County deputy director of liquor licensing Hesbon Agwena said that the policy is aimed at reining on the high number of bars mushrooming in the county.

Mr Agwena told the Robert Mbatia-led committee that the policy will also inform the maximum number of bars that should be within every area, location and the distance between them.

The deputy director said in November, 2014, when the Board came into operation, only 7, 200 bars were licensed by the county but a census carried thereafter revealed high numbers of such outlets in the county.

OPERATING ILLEGALLY

He said that according to a 2016 census report, Nairobi had 12, 500 bars with most of them operating illegally in the informal settlements without license.

For instance, Mr Agwena said, the Central Business District (CBD) has 2, 000 bars but only 736 are licensed by the county.

"We are coming up with a policy, which is currently before the Board, that will inform the number of bars that Nairobi should have, location, distance between one another and even enforcement. We are looking at scaling down the number to 3, 000 bars only in Nairobi. Eldoret for example has only 800 bars," said Mr Agwena.

Mr Agwena said that 7, 200 bars is the highest number of bars that have been levied by the county in the 2014/2015 financial year with the number decreasing every year.

RESIDENTIAL HOUSES

"We only license those that are in a plot and with a plot number but since most are on top of residential houses they cannot get licensed. If we enforced the law then more than 4, 000 bars will be affected as they do not meet our set standards," said the deputy director.

In 2017/2018 financial year, City Hall collected Sh254 million in annual revenue from only 5, 000 bars against a target of 7,000 bars. This year, Sh124 million has been collected so far from 3, 900 bars with the target being 4, 800 bars before the end of the financial year in June.

"Some have closed as they were not worth operating as they are not up to standards. In the past year, we estimate that 200 have closed. Most are operating within residential areas and in temporary structures and so cannot be licensed," he said.

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