What increased beer prices mean for ordinary Kenyans

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The National Treasury has threatened to raise corporate tax from 30 percent to 35 percent for firms with annual income of more than Sh500 million which could see East African Breweries Limited (EABL) increase prices of its products.

The company’s Managing Director Jane Karuku says a tax increase will be a shock to the business, given that the sector is already among most of the heavily taxed in the country.

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“Going to 35 per cent will be a shock to us and counter-productive for business. We are among the highly taxed companies in Kenya and in the region,” she said.

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“Increasing the tax base means we also have to pass some of it to the consumer. That is going to make Tusker bottle move from retail price of Sh160 to about 180 because the 35 percent works on the whole total drinks.”

Of the Sh160 recommended retail price of a Tusker brand Ms Kuruku said, Sh87 goes to tax and that any further increment in excise and corporate tax will drive low end customers to illicit brews.

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Ms Karuku told the press that with inflation rising, a tax rise would make brands expensive, increase cost of doing business and make Kenya lose competitive edge.

The Treasury last year introduced changes to the law where excise duty will now be reviewed annually, with the rate pegged to the average rate of inflation of the past year.

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Alcohol business has also had challenges between county government and national government laws, leading to disruption of businesses in counties such as Kiambu.

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