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Bar Owners Relieved After Receiving 25% Fee Waiver

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Bar, restaurant and nightclub owners in Nyeri can heave a sigh of relief after Governor Mutahi Kahiga’s administration slashed annual license fees by 25 per cent.

The move was in response to cries by the bar owners association, who had written to the Governor in August and November 2020 seeking to have the charges lowered. They argued that with their businesses among the worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, bars were unable to pay the fees.

County Executive Committee (CEC) member for Finance Robert Thuo confirmed that over 3,000 business owners were eligible to benefit from waivers of Sh30,000, Sh11,000, and Sh2,750 respectively.

Annual license fees for day and night clubs were reduced from Ksh120,000 to Ksh90,000.

Bars and restaurants, on the other hand, will pay Ksh33,000 down from Ksh44,000. Small village bars will part with Ksh8,250 down from Ksh11,000.

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga speaking at a past event
Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga speaking at a past event

“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,” a letter from Thuo read in part.

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Bar owners had rejected an earlier waiver offer of fifteen per cent arguing that it did not factor in the devastating impact of Covid-19 restrictions on sales in bars and restaurants.

Nyeri bar owners Association Secretary-General Kiama Gachanja noted that bars had been closed for several months in 2020 before being re-opened in October under strict guidelines.

He observed that the conditional re-opening brought with it other challenges that affected their operations, such as social distancing requirements.

In addition, he noted that the curfew, which was extended to March 31st, 2021, had resulted in depressed sales due to reduced operating hours.

Gachanja argued that the situation had seen many owners struggle to pay rent for their premises or even put food on the table.

“While we appreciate the county decision to grant us a conditional waiver of 15 per cent we feel the amount is grossly inadequate given the conditions we are going through as a result of Covid-19.

“Since we ceased operations in March we were only allowed to resume in October even though it was conditional and very costly,” he stated.

Notably, the waiver is conditional and applicable to those who pay within 14 days of being invoiced.

READ>>>>>50,000 New Job Opportunities as Bars Ordered to Hire Covid Officers

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MARTIN SIELEhttps://loud.co.ke/
Martin K.N Siele is the Content Lead at Business Today. He is also a Quartz contributor and a 2021 Baraza Media Lab-Fringe Graph Data Storytelling Fellow. Passionate about digital media, sports and entertainment, Siele also founded Loud.co.ke
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