Bar owners in Nyeri have reason to smile after the county government granted them a 25 percent waiver in licensee fees to cushion them against the effects of Covid-19.
Executive Committee Member (CEC) for Finance Robert Thuo announced the county had given the over 3,000 businessmen the waiver of between Sh30,000, Sh11,000, and Sh2,750 respectively.
Day and Night clubs will now pay an annual fee of Sh90,000 down from Sh120,000 while bars and Restaurants will now pay Sh33,000 instead of Sh44,000. Village bars will pay Sh8,250 down from Sh11,000.
“Having considered the issues and after consultations, I hereby grant a waiver of 25 percent license fee up from 15 earlier granted. However, all other conditions given by the director of liquor board shall apply,” the letter by Thuo said.
Through their Association's eight sub-county chairmen, the businessmen had written to Governor Mutahi Kahiga on August 19 and November 11 last year seeking his intervention on the matter.
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“While we appreciate the county decision to grant us a conditional waiver of 15 we feel the amount is grossly inadequate given the conditions we are going through as a result of Covid-19,” a letter by Nyeri bar owners Association Secretary-General Kiama Gachanja read.
Gachacha observed that they were dealing with many challenges since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic including reduced hours and social distancing requirements that forced them to operate at low capacity.
“Since we ceased operations in March we were only allowed to resume in October even though it was conditional and very costly, “he notes.
The majority of the members, Gachanja said, were struggling to put food on the table, pay rents for business premises and residential houses.
Gachanja, however, said the waiver is conditional and applicable to those who pay within the 14 days of being invoiced.
“Once you are invoiced you have to pay within two weeks to qualify for the waiver,” said Gachanja who represents trader in the county liquor license committee.
Initially, the businessmen had raised their opposition against a demand by the county that they renew liquor licences even as their businesses remained shut since March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.