The Medium Liquor Traders Association led by National Chairman Francis Mbogo has expressed concern over increased license fees.
“The Small and Medium Liquor Traders Association (MELTA), representing a significant portion of local liquor establishments and small businesses, wishes to express our profound concern and strong objection to the recent proposal for a substantial increase in liquor license fees within our community.
While we recognize the importance of generating revenue for public services and regulatory efforts, the proposed fee hikes have raised significant alarm among our members and stakeholders. These increases have the potential to impose an undue burden on our small businesses and employees which are already grappling with numerous economic challenges, especially in the wake of the financial and economic constrains we are currently undergoing as a country.
Our concerns are as follows:
Disproportionate Impact on Small Businesses: Many of our members are locally-owned, family-operated businesses. The proposed fee increases disproportionately affect these small establishments, potentially jeopardizing their viability and contributing to job losses within our community.
Economic Fragility: In an era of economic uncertainty, it is essential to support local businesses, not hinder their growth. Higher license fees can hinder investment, expansion, and the creation of new jobs within our community.
Impact on Employment: Higher license fees are likely to lead to job cuts and reduced working hours for our employees, which would contribute to the already concerning issue of unemployment in our community. Hindrance to Local Economic Growth: Our establishments are not just places to buy and consume alcohol; they are integral parts of our local communities. The financial strain caused by increased fees could lead to business closures, which in turn would have a detrimental effect on local economies.
Deterrence of Responsible Operators: Such steep fee increases may discourage responsible business operators from maintaining their licenses, potentially leaving room for less scrupulous operators who do not prioritize responsible alcohol sales and the safety of patrons.
Unaffordability: The proposed fee hikes may lead to increased prices for consumers, which could subsequently affect local patrons and their access to affordable leisure activities.
Lack of Consultation: We believe that an increase in license fees should be the result of a comprehensive and collaborative consultation process that takes into account the perspectives of all stakeholders. The absence of such a process is concerning.
We acknowledge that the responsible regulation of liquor establishments is essential to ensure public safety and promote responsible alcohol consumption. However, it is our belief that any fee increases should be reasonable, transparent, and fair to all businesses, considering their size and economic contribution to the community. We urge the relevant authorities to reconsider the proposed increases in liquor license fees, and we welcome the opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue to find a more balanced and equitable solution that supports both local businesses and the community.
The Small and Medium Liquor Traders Association (MELTA) remains committed to upholding the highest standards of social responsibility and business ethics within our industry. We hope that our concerns will be taken into account, and we look forward to a productive discussion with relevant County officials on this matter failure to which we will be left with no option challenging the decision in court.”