Saturday, September 25, 2021

Liquor traders appeal for tax waiver

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 The Telegraph 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.

He stated that waiving taxes will allow operators to make financial recoveries.

Sesinyi stated that the liquor industry is on its knees as reflected by the growing loss of jobs in the industry.

“People have lost their jobs because of constant alcohol ban, liquor operators are unable to pay their staff because they have nothing to share with them so it is upon government to ensure that they can salvage the little that is left,” said Sesinyi.

“We will continue to find ways in which we can appeal to government to cushion our businesses because we do not want an instance where now the industry will be completely down,” said Sesinyi.

He further said alcohol industry continues to pour in millions of pula’s into the economy therefore important to protect it.

BAIA has previously complained that liquor traders continue to lose millions of Pula from damaged stockpiles of alcohol that have been kept in stores without sales due to the ban.

A ban on the sale of alcohol was put in place indefinitely by government owing to the rising cases of Covid-19.

Sesinyi said they are aggrieved by the fact that some of the stockpiled alcohol has already expired which means a further loss to traders.

He also said this has also contributed to job losses in the industry, saying that more are expected to continue losing their jobs.

Last year, BAIA appealed to government to at least use the alcohol levy fund to cushion traders from business loss, a call that fell on deaf ears.

At the time, BAIA noted that most people in the sector were bound to lose their businesses.

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