• April 16, 2024
  • Last Update April 16, 2024 5:36 PM
  • Nairobi

Civil Society Organisations call for increased taxation on alcohol

Health

By Peter Ochieng

As the government steps up measures towards curbing manufacture, sale and consumption of illicit alcohol, some Civil Society Organisations want the State to increase taxation, to prevent widespread use of alcohol in the country.

Representatives of various organisations, which include International Institute for Legislative Affairs, and Blue Cross Kenya among others in an address to the press in Kisumu on Monday, said the increase of excise tax on alcoholic drinks is considered the most effective way of addressing the problem of alcohol harm in the society.

“We recommend enhanced and increased excise taxes on alcoholic drinks and beverages on the grounds of them being unhealthy products,” they said in a statrment, led by Blue Cross Kisumu’s Brian Magwaro.

“The increase of excise tax on alcoholic drinks is considered the most effective way of addressing the problem of alcohol harm in society by reducing its consumption and preventing the young population from initiating.”

In its 2022 report on the national prevalence of alcohol consumption in Kenya, the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) noted that 3.2 million Kenyans consume alcohol, with several Kenyans dying or losing their eyesight as a result of alcohol consumotion every year.

“Alcohol tax is an important tool to improve public health and increase government revenue, as evidence of the negative individual, social and economic consequences of alcohol consumption accumulate, governments are increasingly recognizing that alcohol tax is not only a source of revenue but also an important population-wide intervention to reduce alcohol consumption and its negative externalities and internalities,” the organisations add.

Currently, excise rates on beer, wines, and spirits are Sh142.44 per litre, Sh243.43 per litre, and Sh356.42 per litre, respectively.

They recommend that the rates be increased by at least Sh56.98, Sh97.37 per litre and Sh142.56 per litre, respectively, for beer, wines, and spirits.

Further, they recommend enhanced legal and administrative measures to curb the increased, porous, and uncontrollable online marketing of alcoholic beverages and drinks.

They also want strict enforcement and enhanced legal provisions for a total ban on alcohol selling within a 500-metre radius of schools and institutions of learning, churches, and areas frequented by children, which expose vulnerable populations to alcohol.

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