Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Liquor sales return

Botswana’s multi-billion-pula lucrative liquor industry will from Monday start trading again following the lifting of a ban on sale of liquor by President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Masisi announced during the national address Friday evening that alcohol sales will now be allowed on a take away basis.

“The ban on the sale of alcohol will be lifted and allowed on a take away basis as per level 3 of the Emergency Response Framework”, Masisi said.

The reopening follows the government’s decision to stun elbow benders in June, instructing that alcohol should not be sold for an indefinite period. The ban, the government said, is part of a strategy to curb the spread of Covid 19 in the country.

The reopening comes at a time when the leading beer brewers in the country, Kgalagadi Brewery Limited (KBL) announced an indefinite suspension on operations at all its sites from Monday, 9th August 2021. The move was said to be a calculated one by the company to cut on operational costs at a time when it’s earning zero income and no subsidy from government.

Since 2020 the industry has not just lost money, but also lost employees along the dry journey as three leading liquor manufacturers KBL, Okavango Craft Brewery and Big Sip Company cumulatively had their employment headcount going down by atleast 190.

Before the restriction the investment level of the country’s three liquor manufacturing companies stood at a cumulative figure of about P3.6 billion.

As at March 2020, Botswana had a record 4 893 licensed liquor outlets with an estimated employment level of 15 910. Further, the country also had 1191 Restaurants that employed 23 820 people.

Meanwhile Liquor operators in the country have appealed to the government to consider tax waives as the alcohol industry continues to battle with losses suffered from the ongoing liquor sale ban.

Botswana Alcohol Industry Association (BAIA) Secretary General, Jacob Sesinyi told Sunday Standard that engagements will be held with government after recently proposing for a meeting.

He said although they will welcome all incentives from government to help boost the industry, waiving taxes for liquor operators should be highly considered.

“We have proposed a meeting with government to have a discussion about a series of issues and we are hopeful that they will respond to us so that we can put these issues across,”

“ I can confidently tell you that every single time we bounce back from alcohol ban, some of our colleagues find it hard to bounce back, so in this case, it will be appropriate to have government looking into this issues,” said Sesinyi.

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