Anerlisa Muigai with her mother Tabitha Karanja
KEROCHE BREWERIES DYNASTY: Anerlisa Muigai with her mother Tabitha Karanja

Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga has urged the government not to close down Keroche Breweries.

Speaking on Friday, Raila said the company should be allowed to operate and given time to clear the debt.

"That's why we tell them to let Keroche go, don't kill Keroche," he said.

The former Prime minister added that "If they are not able to pay today, spread it out. If they cannot pay help them to continue with business so they can pay tomorrow. That is how we do business. Don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg."

He noted that if a business has defaulted on tax, it should not be closed down because it will not only be killing the investor but also the employees.

Raila said one way of getting a country out of poverty is through private businesses and the government needs to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

"The private sector is the engine for economic growth worldwide," he said.

"You do that by removing restrictive laws, and bureaucratic red tapes that the private sector can move and create wealth. It is not right to become punitive in terms of taxation. If taxes are too high, there's a tendency to evade them but if they are low and manageable people will pay."

Raila spoke at a meeting with the Mt Kenya business community at Thika Greens.

On June 14, KRA yet again closed down the factory over fresh tax arrears.

This was the sixth time in one year that KRA has closed down the Naivasha-based company leaving it to incur losses running to millions of shillings.

In March, KRA closed the brewery over Sh300m tax arrears but this was resolved a couple of weeks later with fresh and harsh terms and conditions.

According to the company CEO Tabitha Karanja, efforts by the company to seek more time to pay the arrears had hit the wall.

“KRA’s draconian measures against Keroche Breweries constitute a hostile exception to well-established government policies of investment promotion, job creation and support for value addition,” she said.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, the brewery was closed for two years because of the measures enforced to contain the spread of Covid-19 and we incurred tax arrears of Sh322m.”

Karanja attributed her woes to the move to join politics through UDA adding that this would not stop her intentions to vie for the senatorial seat in Nakuru.

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