Importers and exporters of all alcoholic drinks in the country will now be required to get a licence from National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse- NACADA.
A statement from NACADA said the move follows a resolution by a multi-agency team comprising representatives involved in the regulation of international trade.
“NACADA has already notified industry players and the public that henceforth all licensing functions relating to importation and exportation of alcoholic drinks will be under its mandate,” the statement reads.
The Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Council of Governors (CoG) and other bodies are part of the mutli-agency team that arrived at the decision.
NACADA took over the functions of licensing manufacturers and importers of alcoholic drinks after the Inter-Governmental Relations Technical Committee (IGRTC) advised that the liquor licensing function ought to be unbundled.
The IGTRC–successor of the defunct Transition Authority (TA)—said the move will enable the national and county governments take up the areas that fall within their respective constitutional mandates.
NACADA Chief Executive Victor Okioma reiterated the need for protection of consumers from counterfeit and illicit alcoholic drinks which proliferated the industry in the past.
According to him, a big part of the problem stems from licensing issues especially as implemented by county governments.
“NACADA is aware that some county governments have been issuing importation and exportation licenses to manufacturers against the letter and spirit of constitutional provisions on international trade as it relates to alcoholic drinks businesses. This license by NACADA will streamline the industry by providing details of the alcoholic drink manufacturer, brand origin, batch number among other considerations to facilitate tracking of products through the value chain. What we as the regulator is mostly concerned about is the health and safety of the consumer from unscrupulous businesses,” said Mr. Okioma.
He spoke during a past meeting with the Association of Beer and Alcoholic Drinks Manufacturers of Kenya (ABAK).
East African Breweries Limited (EABL) Corporate Affairs Director Eric Kiniti called for regular discussions and consensus building to protect all interested parties and stakeholders.