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Here’s how underage drinking in Nairobi has been on the rise

City Hall has raised concern over the ease with which underage people, especially students, are accessing liquor through online outlets in the county.

Nairobi City County Alcoholic Drinks Control and Licensing Board (NCCADCL) chairman Mr Kennedy Odhiambo has said that there are about 546,000 online channels through which anyone can order alcohol in Nairobi with some promising delivery within less that 30 minutes.

“It has emerged that some secondary students are ordering drinks online during school trips,” said Mr Odhiambo on Tuesday.

According to the City liquor board boss, statistics indicate that sales of beer, liquor and wine grew 32.7 per cent in 2017.

The board has now called for amendment of Nairobi City County Alcoholic Drinks Act of 2014 to regulate online liquor sales, saying the lacuna in law is posing a big challenge in curbing underage drinking and sale of counterfeit products.

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Mr Odhiambo noted that authenticating liquor products sold online has been a challenge since the Act does not give provisions on how to deal with such.

“In addition to its unregulated nature, online liquor sales make it difficult for authorities to contain sale of counterfeit products,” he said.

The Nairobi City County Alcoholic Drinks Act largely borrows from the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act of 2010, popularly known as the Mututho Law, which centrally concentrated on reducing drinking hours in conventional outlets such as bars and pubs but ignored the online segment.

Mr Odhiambo, in light of the Board’s underage drinking concern, has called for further research to determine the proportion of minors who buy alcohol online and test purchases from more vendors to inform enforcement of existing policies and creation of new policies to reduce youth access to alcohol online.