KRA boosts surveillance to curb illicit alcohol

Kenya Revenue Authority Commissioner General Humphrey Wattanga. [Standard,File]

 The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has intensified its surveillance to curb the production and sale of illicit liquor in the country.

 The move follows a notification from the national government on the actions to be taken to eradicate illicit brews, drug and substance abuse.

KRA Commissioner General Humphrey Wattanga on Thursday, March 7, told the Senate Standing Committee on Trade, Industrialization and Tourism that KRA has deployed its officers at all excisable goods manufacturing plants to ensure compliance with the law.

 “The Excise Duty regulations allow us to station our officers at factories producing excise tax-covered goods such as beer, wines and spirits, cigarettes, mineral water, soft drinks, juices among others,” he said.

The officers, also known as resident staff, implement compliance, service support and enforcement initiatives, including disclosing any irregularities and discrepancies to ensure correct payment and filing of excise taxes by the manufacturers.

 Wattanga said that the staff complement other monitoring measures such as CCTV cameras inside factories wired to KRA system to enhance security.

He was responding to a petition tabled before the Senate asking the Authority to provide information on its enforcement of tax compliance at manufacturers like EABL.

KRA noted that there have been no variations in manufacturing ingredients that have tax implications dating back to five years.

 It reported that Kenya Breweries Limited contributed over 60 per cent of domestic excise collections in FY 2021/22 and 2022/23.

KRA also said that it continues to collaborate with other government agencies within the multi-agency framework to promote legitimate trade and protect the society against harmful products such as illicit alcohol, through various operations, border patrols, surveillance and monitoring of cargo.

In the current financial year 2023/24, KRA has implemented 976 interventions on illicit trade, resulting in the seizure of varying products with a market value of Sh897.244 million.

KRA reaffirmed its commitment to collaborate with all government agencies in the fight against illicit brews, drug and substance abuse.