Keroche Breweries is set to lay off over 400 employees as tax woes with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) deepen.
Last week, Keroche CEO Tabitha Karanja decried that the company had been shut down after defaulting on the target set by KRA.
Karanja has now stated in a series of tweets that if the company closes, about 400 workers will lose their jobs.
She is thus urging all stakeholders to come together to avert the crisis, with the government ideally implementing policies that are beneficial to local investors.
“I was thinking aloud on Sunday afternoon and pondering how I will relay the painful message to our employees on Monday that we will be laying them off as a result of KRA’s closure. I was also at pains as I looked at all the beer in the tanks that we shall be forced to drain to waste and wondered why and how the following relevant ministries remain so indifferent to the dire consequences of the current closure of the company’s factory,” she wrote.
She also requested an audience with the KRA Commissioner General in order to explain the company’s problems and chart a course ahead.
KRA has previously denied Keroche Breweries’ assertions that the taxman had crippled the company in the name of collecting taxes.
This came after Karanja accused the taxman of causing problems for local entrepreneurs. She revealed that KRA had shut down its Naivasha plant due to Sh322 million in tax arrears, putting the lives of more than 250 direct employees at jeopardy.
KRA, on the other hand, refuted the allegations, accusing the entrepreneur of unfair competition and dishonesty in a statement.
Contrary to Karanja’s claims that the taxman had frustrated negotiation talks with the Keroche leadership, KRA said the company is unwilling to repay the owed millions despite several commitments.
In a comprehensive statement, KRA said that the company is to blame for the current dispute, claiming that the company has not been remitting withheld taxes to the government as required by law.
The taxpayer may be using the taxes obtained to fund the company’s activities or for other individual matters, according to KRA.
The CEO and her husband, Joseph Karanja, have been in a tax dispute with KRA for years.
The founders of Keroche Breweries were detained in August 2019 on suspicion of Sh14 billion in tax evasion, but were eventually released on bail amid public outcry.
The firm was accused of avoiding paying Sh12.34 billion in VAT on stamps (Sh329.4 million), Crescent Vodka (Sh135.4 million), and other products.