Keroche Breweries founder, Tabitha Karanja, says the company – which has been struggling with cash flow – will be embarking on a mass layoff exercise as it seeks to stabilise financially.
Speaking to the press in Nakuru, Tabitha stated that 250 workers will be affected by the mass sacking that will take place in a week’s time. She explained that Keroche Breweries was struggling since it has been unable to sell alcoholic drinks in its reserves worth over Ksh512 million.
She further noted that a legal battle with the taxman over Ksh322 million taxes has put the company in the middle of a financial crisis, with Tabitha arguing that the debts were backdated to February 2021, a move she termed as illegal.
Keroche Breweries owners Tabitha Karanja and husband Joseph Karanja when they launched a new beer in July 2019.
The Keroche founder revealed that the factory has remained shut since February 1.
“We have remained closed and yet we have over two million litres of beer worth about Ksh512 million in our tanks and which require about Ksh30 million monthly to maintain them,” she stated.
“This has drained all our resources, and unfortunately if nothing is done in the next seven days, we will be forced to drain down all the beer and lay down over 250 direct employees and thousands within our nationwide distribution network.”
Tabitha petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene, noting that livelihoods would be lost if no action is taken to save the brewer. She added that efforts to get an audience with the taxman have been futile.
Keroche explained that the company wanted to offset the debt in 24 months but the government agency insisted that the arrears must be settled in six months’ time from February 2021.
“Failure to be up to date on the payments was explained to the government agency because of the low business which led to poor cashflows and the company could not meet all its financial obligations.
“We subsequently entered into a proposed payment plan with the government, but we could not manage to honour the same due to frequent interruptions by the same government,” explained Tabitha.
She told the press that the issue could be sorted out if the government allowed her to open the brewery and resume operations. The government went ahead to issue an advisory to 36 banks not to lend Keroche, with Tabitha noting that this has greatly contributed to her financial woes.