By Judith Gicobi
Keroche Breweries Limited, Kenya’s second biggest brewer, has struck a deal with the Kenya Revenue Authority to pay $8.3 million in tax arrears, marking the end of a tax dispute that forced the company’s closure two weeks ago.
On Wednesday, the taxman stated that it had negotiated a new deal with the Naivasha-based firm, forcing it to pay the undisputed tax amount within two years, commencing in January 2022.
This clears the way for the firm to resume operations, as Keroche will adhere to previously agreed-upon measures to pay the remaining outstanding taxes.
“The signed addendum agreement will also see the KRA lift agency notices issued to thirty-six (36) Banks,” KRA said in a statement.
The regulator issued a freeze, prohibiting 36 Kenyan commercial banks from lending to or interacting with the brewer, which is known for its Summit Lager and Summit Malt brands, which are mostly distributed in Kenya.
The NSE-listed business had been charged by KRA of failing to pay $199.38 million in corporation tax, excise duty, value-added tax, and fines.
Keroche had urged the taxman to let it restart operations while it worked out a payment arrangement, claiming it had almost two million liters of whiskey in storage worth KSh512 million ($4.47 million) and a monthly maintenance cost of KSh30 million ($262,000).