As at 2014, only 7,200 bars were licensed by the Nairobi County Liquor Licensing Board but the numbers doubled over a short period of time. A 2016 report revealed that Nairobi had 12,500 alcohol dens, a good number of them illegal hidden in the informal settlements.
A drastic decline in the targeted revenue collection from 7000 bars in that year to 4800 this year, raised the question on legality of the mushrooming bars in the city every other day. This year county government has only collected Sh124 million against targeted Sh287 million from 3, 900 bars, compared to Sh254 million annual revenue from only 5,000 bars in its 2017/2018 financial year.
Appearing before the Nairobi County Assembly Budget and Appropriation Committee, Nairobi County Deputy Director of Liquor Licensing Board Hesbon Agwena said that Nairobi County will have only 3, 000 bars if the proposed policy is passed by the County Assembly. The proposed policy will be presented two months from now.
“We are looking at scaling down the number to 3, 000 bars only in Nairobi. Eldoret, for example, has only 800 bars. The Board only licenses those that are in a plot and have 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,” he noted.
The policy will give a threshold on the number of bars that should be within every area, location and the distance between them to curb on the illegal outlets blooming in the city.
Since the Board sprung into action, about 3,000 outlets have closed down for not meeting the standards, operating within residential areas and in temporary structure. Investors who have put their money in alcohol dens in informal settlements around Nairobi including Kibera, Kayole, Dandora, Mathare among others will suffer a big blow if the proposed policy is passed.