The Ministry of Health has voiced concern over the number and frequency of TV adverts that extol the consumption of liquor.
Speaking at an interactive workshop organised by Specially nominated Councillor Kabo Sebele in Molepolole last week, Kobamo Batsile from the Ministry of Health Alcohol and Substance Abuse Division, said they are aware that there are alcohol adverts running.
“We have a problem with the television adverts,” Batsile said. “Thirty minutes hardly pass without an alcohol advert being run.”
Batsile said that when the youth are advised not to waste money on alcohol, some have a feeling that government wants to control them on how to spend their money. He said the youth dwell too much on alcohol.
“These days one can even travel a distance from Gaborone to Francistown just to go and drink alcohol,” he said.
Batsile added that even alcohol merchants erroneously think that Government is being cruel and wants to deprive them of profits, adding that they have the challenge and the mission to go in the streets with campaigns.
He stated that traditional leaders have been given the task or role as enforcers of the traditional beer regulations since last year in June.
“Our Chiefs know their villages; they know where the shebeens are located and they know their people and they know how to deal with their communities,” said Batsile. He added that this has been an issue of concern to government because alcohol resulted in poor health, accidents, rape, domestic violence and bulling others. He noted that is why they had to introduce alcohol policy, Trading Act and create awareness campaigns to impart knowledge to people.
Batsile said the Government found it proper to introduce interventions such as the alcohol levy, adding that some people have the perception that the government’s intention is to raise funds from the alcohol levy.
“The aim of the alcohol levy is to make it difficult or expensive for those underage to have access to or purchase alcohol,” said Batsile, adding that so far they are receiving positive feedback from the public, claiming that the consumption of alcohol had declined.
Batsile revealed that the Alcohol Levy raised P1 Billion since its inception with last year alone yielding P250 million. He said the alcohol levy has been used to support useful developments in the country.