Jubilee Party Secretary General Jeremiah Kioni has expressed concern over the potential collapse of the economic ecosystem if bars within shopping centers are closed. In an interview with TV47, Kioni emphasized that the sale of alcoholic beverages is not only about business but also serves as a significant source of employment, keeping people occupied and engaged in economic activities.

According to Kioni, the closure of just two or three bars within a shopping center could have far-reaching consequences, disrupting the entire economic landscape. He argued that societies rely on the consumption of alcohol to some extent, and attempts to eliminate it entirely would be misguided. Highlighting the interconnectedness of businesses and social activities, he underscored the importance of recognizing the role that bars play in local economies.

Kioni called upon the government to address the issue of harmful products while ensuring that legitimate businesses are not unfairly targeted. He suggested that measures should be directed towards manufacturers of harmful products while allowing responsible businesses to continue operating and contributing to economic growth.

Addressing concerns about alcohol consumption, Kioni acknowledged that drinking establishments provide a form of entertainment and social interaction, particularly in rural areas where other recreational options may be limited. He noted that limiting the hours of operation for bars does not necessarily curtail alcohol consumption, as people may simply adjust their drinking habits accordingly.

In light of recent announcements by Interior and National Administration Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki regarding measures to combat the consumption of illicit brews, Kioni’s remarks take on added significance. Kindiki’s directives include a review of bar licenses and the closure of unlicensed outlets, aimed at addressing the public health risks associated with illicit alcohol.

However, Kioni cautioned against overly restrictive measures that could have unintended consequences for local economies. He cited examples from Mt Kenya, where the closure of bars led to a decline in overall economic activity within shopping centers. This underscores the complex relationship between alcohol sales and economic vitality, highlighting the need for a balanced approach to regulation.

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