Monday, December 6, 2021

Liquor trading hours remain the same – PS

Elbow benders might have prematurely celebrated the much anticipated changes in liquor trading hours.

This comes after the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Peggy Serame described a document that broke the internet on the social media announcing changes in trading hours as “fake”.

On Friday Serame said that the process of reviewing the Liquor Act commenced in 2016 and is still underway.

“I can also confirm that the Liquor Act 2003 is being implemented through the Liquor Regulations, 2008.  Therefore, the liquor trading hours remain as stipulated in the Liquor Regulations, 2008,” said Serame.

“We expect that the Bill will be considered by the National Assembly this year, 2018,” said Serame.

Furthermore Serame said consequently the Liquor Regulations will also be amended.  She added that this review will affect fees, trading hours as well as application processes.  PS Serame stated that as part of the review, there will be consultation with different stakeholders including business community, civil society, traditional leaders and the general public.

“This is a long process which cannot be made overnight as it involves other government ministries and only the Ministry of Trade as well as NGOs,” she said.

Serame stated that government currently cannot state the timeframe to finalize the process.

Key amongst other things, elbow benders are also expecting the new administration at the government enclave to review the controversial alcohol levy.  Since its introduction in 2008, the levy has increased from 30 percent to the current 55 percent. The Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) has revealed that in terms of gross collection and remission to government, the alcohol levy comes second to the training levy among service levies.

The increase in alcohol levy collection was occasioned by a change in the formula for calculating levy by including Excise duty on locally produced alcoholic beverages and therefore resulting in an increase in the tax base and hence an increase in levy collections.

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