Jameson Whiskey bottles produced for sale in Kenya will now have a diamond mark in a bid to combat parallel imports.
The announcement by the firm comes when the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Anti-Counterfeit Agency have been conducting raids on counterfeit and illegal liquor in the country.
“Parallel trading has been a challenge for us and it has been costing the Kenyan government revenue,” said Pernod Ricard Kenya & East Africa managing director Predrag Amidzic in an interview.
The addition of the mark in the coming months will make it easier to nab alcohol imported through back channels and alternative markets.
Distributors have seen their revenue undercut by alcohol brought in through back channels, which has also been a major revenue leak for the taxman.
Excise tax collections in eight months of the current financial year fell by Sh4.67 billion compared to a year earlier, reflecting the impact of the increased sale of illicit and counterfeit liquor.
On June 1, the KRA seized excisable goods worth Sh1.2 million at Kasarani and Njiru. Another Sh15 million worth of illicit brew was impounded and destroyed in Kisumu.
“The (objective of) the ongoing countrywide crackdown on illicit trade and counterfeit products is not only to protect legitimate products from unfair competition posed by counterfeit products but also protect Kenyans from substandard and potentially harmful products,” said the KRA Intelligence and Strategic Operations Commissioner James Githii Mburu in a statement over the Madaraka Day weekend.