Tabitha Karanja: Keroche 400 workers fired amid KRA final closure

Keroche 400 Workers fired over KRA closure

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has closed Keroche Breweries, which may lay off 400 employees.

The firm closed on May 15, 2022, after failing to settle Sh30 million in tax arrears.
KRA's decision to close Keroche breweries was driven by politics, says CEO Tabitha Karanja.

On Monday, the entrepreneur said the shutdown had affected her.

"I was thinking quietly on Sunday about how I'd tell our employees on Monday that we're laying them off due to the closure of KRA," she added.

Karanja said the Fred Matiang'i-led Ministry of Interior and Coordination of the National Government should be worried about 400 direct and thousands of indirect jobs.

She asked whether Treasury CS Ukur Yatani had ever understood the KRA-company conflict. Nakuru Senatorial candidate Karanja called her company's shutdown a national security problem.

"Keroche personnel will join millions of other unemployed Kenyans if economic circumstances deteriorate," she said.

Karanja asked the Labor, Trade, Interior, and National Treasury ministries to defend employment and local businesses from KRA's unjust regulations.

She said, "I am sincerely asking that all relevant authorities rise to the occasion and find a peaceful way to deal with the current situation and protect and set up an environment that is good and helpful."

Senatorial candidate requests a meeting with the Kenya Revenue Authority regarding the firm's closure.Karanja said, "We'd be happy to talk about the moratorium with the KRA Commissioner-General."

The entrepreneur recounted how the firm fell from producing Sh500 million per month before COVID-19 to approximately Sh50 million. She said the company's declining sales caused cash flow concerns and tax defaults.

"During COVID-19, the corporation supported its workers, straining its resources." Karanja stated post-Covid and on/off restrictions hampered cash flow. The entrepreneur also requested extra time to pay a Sh500 million tax due six months after December 2021.

Karanja said the excise duty backlog totals roughly Sh195 million, of which we failed on just one payment of Sh30 million for April 2022.

Karanja praised William Ruto and Raila Odinga for backing her despite their disagreements. 

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