Underfire local brewer Keroche Breweries has accused the Kenyan taxman of favoring foreign investors over local manufacturers.
Speaking after the Tax Appeals Tribunal ordered the brewer to pay Ksh 9 billion in taxes, Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja on Thursday told the media that the ruling has crippled their operations.
“Today in the morning, we woke up to an agency notice issued by KRA directed to our banks to collect Sh9 billion. This means Keroche Breweries cannot withdraw any more money or transact any business from their accounts until KRA collects the alleged Sh 9 billion. In short, as we speak, they have halted all the operations,” she said.
She added: “As a law-abiding company, we expected that KRA would abide by the process in which we had 30 days by law to appeal the tax appeals tribunal decision. We are shocked that KRA has no intention of respecting the legal process.”
Karanja said KRA was wrong to mislead the public yet the company still has 30 days to appeal.
“The tax appeals tribunal decision is not the final verdict. It is important that the public understands how this process works. If you have any dispute with KRA, the first step is to take the matter to the tax appeals tribunal. Only when this fails is one allowed to go to court,” she said.
With Danish Brewing Company E.A Limited, a subsidiary of Bounty Global Management DWC LLC, set to set up operations in the country, Karanja said the beer maker will come “with over 60 percent of workers from a foreign country.”
“Keroche has 99 percent of locals. We need an enabling environment,” she said adding that local companies must be supported.
“Why are they destroying the manufacturing agenda that we claim is one of our economic pillars? Does this country only favour foreign investors?”
“This injustice cannot be allowed to stand. Our lawyers are currently in court to stay this order,” she said.