The Kenya Revenue Authority has introduced a new measures to regulate the importation, manufacturing and sale of ethanol to stem use of the product in making illicit alcohol.
Under a fresh round of measures, only companies registered under the Customs and Excise Act will be allowed to deal in the product.
Speaking to the Nation on Friday, KRA Commissioner-General John Njiraini, said the problem of illicit spirits was caused by dealers, who imported ethanol and evaded taxes or had preferential rates, therefore, undercutting the registered manufacturers.
“We will no longer allow middlemen to buy ethanol. This, we believe, will reduce the illicit spirits,” Mr Njiraini said.
Sale will also be restricted to registered firms with dealers taking responsibility of verifying the contents.
“Local producers of ethanol shall confirm eligibility of the person to procure ethanol prior to making any sale. Details of those purchasing ethanol shall be availed to KRA on a monthly basis or at such intervals as may be determined,” a statement issued by KRA said.
Importers will be required to declare to the Customs Department arrival of the product seven days before the consignment docks at Kilindini, in Mombasa, where all sea-based imports will be cleared for the local market.
Transporters will also be required to use trucks fitted with electronic cargo tracking devices as approved by the Customs Department for easier monitoring and surveillance to avoid dumping of the product or diversion to unlicensed dealers.
Purchasers of ethanol will be required to provide usage projections to the KRA starting September 1 for the period between October and December.
On methanol that is used mostly for making paints, dealers will have to be registered by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to import and sell to avert misuse.
“The importation of methanol is not controlled and anybody can import even for wrong reasons and that is why we have recommended that they be registered by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board,” Mr Njiraini said.
The measures come barely two weeks after the government announced the formation of a taskforce comprising officials from 12 State agencies to inspect and audit all manufacturing plants to determine the suitability of the brands they sell in the market.
Through Gazette notice dated July 10, the public was provided with a toll-free number through which it can report those violating rules guiding the selling of alcoholic beverages.
The team formed to inspect and approve manufacturers comprises Ministry of Interior and National Coordination, which is the convenor, the Council of Governors, the Attorney-General, Nacada, the National Intelligence Service, the Anti-counterfeit Agency, Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Kenya Revenue Authority, Public Health, government chemist, National Police Service as well as the National Youth Service.
“They will visit and inspect all premises manufacturing alcoholic drinks and recommend measures of control, including closure of production where necessary,” a statement by Interior and National Co-ordination Cabinet Secretary, Mr Joseph Nkaissery, said.
They are to take audit of the alcoholic drinks, potable spirits and illicit brews in Kenya together with the manufacturers and collate views from the public on how to fight use of illicit brews.