Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Land woes hamper KBL effort to spend P10 million on Chibuku retailers

Sechaba Holdings Limited, the listed parent company to Kgalagadi Breweries Limited and Botswana Breweries Limited, said it failed to use the budget set aside to help the displaced Chibuku retailers following the introduction of new traditional beer regulations.

In anticipation of difficulties the retailers might face, under new rules that bar in-home sale of home-brewed drinks including Chibuku, KBL allocated P10 million to help its traders re-establish themselves in commercial locations.

This week, Group Managing Director, Hloni Matsela said lack of land in the country hindered the company from releasing the funds, which has an impact on the group’s half year results.

“Unfortunately not,” said Matsela when asked whether they spent part of the money during the presentation of Sechaba’s results for 6 months ended 30, September, 2012.

Matsela said they failed to convince the authorities because of the vulnerability of the group (Chibuku retailers), and therefore they needed to be given time.

“It is quite possible not to spend the money might run to the full year,” he added. The plan was to help retailers establish themselves in new locations especially in highly populated routes served by BBL including Gaborone, Francistown, Palapye and Lobatse.

But lack of commercial land as is the case with everyone in the country hampered the KBL’s move seen as the company’s Corporate Social Investment. Other challenges the retailers faced was the unwillingness by land authorities to give those with land the go ahead to build depots.

Before the new regulations were implemented in July 1, BBL super brand Chibuku was sold in unlicensed homesteads with licensed retailers reluctant to sell the drink on their counters.

Under the new regulations, traditional beer will only be sold from licensed and commercial premises. Equally, traditional beer operators would have to apply for a license for P250.00 while operating hours will be regulated.

For unpackaged traditional beers that include famous names Setopoti, Mokuru, Mokoko O Nchebile or Khadi, the operators will have to register their businesses with the tribal authorities.
The regulations come at a time when BBL had come up with a raft of initiatives meant to improve the image of traditional beer sales.

The new government regulations are hurting women mostly, a study done for BBL by University of Botswana lecturers has revealed. According to the survey conducted for BBL by Dr. N. Forcheh and Dr. SRT. Moeng of the University of Botswana in 2009, most of the Chibuku businesses are operated by women.

“This implies that if a law was made that prevented operating outlets, many more women would be affected than men,” the survey noted.

Sechaba group results showed the Chibuku and Phafana declined by 15.2 percent mainly driven by the new regulatory changes.

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