KENYA – The Kenya Breweries Limited has so far received 470 applications from restaurants and bar operator in the country for the US$3 million ‘Raise the Bar’ fund aimed to help the hospitality industry recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deadline inches closer and the subsidiary of East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) expects the number of applications for the initiative to rise and has assured applicants of transparency in the process, reports KBC.
“We expect the number of applications to increase as the deadline nears. So far, we have received 470 applications, and we encourage more outlets to apply for the program to avoid being left out. The program is very transparent, and no fees are charged for an outlet to be selected,” said KBL Acting Sales Director Joel Kamau.
The two-year programme is part of the US$100 million kitty launched by EABL’s parent company, Diageo in July last year across its different markets worldwide.
The program launch in East Africa was met with delays due to the ban on sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages by ordinary restaurants and eateries and closure of bars which lasted for about six months in Kenya.
It targets to support 11,000 outlets with practical equipment to meet basic Covid-19 mitigation guidelines such as social distancing and hand hygiene.
“We expect the number of applications to increase as the deadline nears. So far, we have received 470 applications, and we encourage more outlets to apply for the program to avoid being left out.”KBL Acting Sales Director Joel Kamau.
The funds will be utilized to purchase equipment such as hygiene kits, permanent sanitizer dispenser units, hand sanitizers, masks, and protection screens for bars that cannot maintain the one metre social distance.
In addition, it will also enable the establishments obtain mobile bars and outdoor equipment as well as undertake partnerships with online reservations and cashless systems, developing contactless technology.
Through the programme, KBL has partnered with AMREF to train bar staff on the safety measures they need to take to protect themselves and their customers.
“Ours is to stand with the businesses and help them get back on their feet. 2020 was a really tough year for many businesses, and hospitality was one of the hardest hit.
“Now with business operations resuming, we want to ensure that the outlets are well prepared to operate safely and also provide confidence to the customers,” said Kamau.
Application for the fund was rolled out in December last year and the deadline is 12th February 2021.
Interested outlets can apply for the program through www.diageobaracademy.com or by contacting their local KBL sales representative.
Other than Kenya, KBL’s sister companies i.e., Uganda Breweries Limited in Uganda and Serengeti Breweries Limited in Tanzania will each get US$1 million for the initiative.
For its half-year period ended December 2020, EABL reported a 47.3 per cent dip in profit to Ksh.3.8 billion (US$34.5m) from Ksh.7.2 billion (US$65.3m) registered in the same period in 2019.
The alcohol manufacturer attributes the sharp decline to one-off tax provision, excise duty increases, general price inflation and additional costs related to digital tax stamp implementation in Uganda which impacted profitability.
Also, trade restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic continued to hamper the company’s performance especially in Kenya.
At country level, the Kenyan market represented the slack in EABL’s business with sales dipping 10 per cent, while Uganda delivered net sales growth of 13 per cent and minimum Covid-19 disruption in Tanzania saw the market continue to deliver double-digit growth in sales of 17 per cent.
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