Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Mixed views on booze law amendment

Different stakeholders have expressed mixed views on the proposed amendment of liquor act of 2003.

Government has been embarking on a consultation tour with various stakeholders such as the business community and community leaders.

In April this year, the then Minister of investment, trade and Industry Peggy Serame said consultations had started and would be concluded in June this year.

Among the proposed liquor amendments is to have liquor outlets established far from the community (schools and churches), allow easy access of liquor (being sold in filling stations etc) and also to promote self-regulation. 

Last week, junior Trade Minister – Molebatsi Molebatsi engaged Gaborone City councilors on the proposed amendment.

Molebatsi indicated that once the consultations have been concluded, the proposed bill will be tabled before Parliament during the winter session next year.

“Consultation process is expected to be completed in June and once the consultation is complete, government will then move to engage lawyers to draft a law on the new act,” said Molebatsi.

On the other hand, Councilor of old Naledi North Oarabile Motlaleng dismissed the proposed amendments, saying that it is bound to disempower old Naledi residents.

He argued that livelihoods of Old Naledi residents depend on the selling of alcohol, adding that allowing petrol stations and supermarkets to sell alcohol will defeat their efforts.

“I plead with you Honorable Minister to revisit this amendment because it will do more harm than good,” said Motlaleng.

Meanwhile, Kgosi Oageng Mosole of Old Naledi said the proposed amendment will affect the livelihoods of many Batswana, not only those from old Naledi.

“I have not had the time to go through most of the amendments but one thing for sure is that the one seeking to allow petrol stations to sell alcohol will have a negative impact on livelihoods,” said Mosole.

For his part, Botswana Alcohol Industry Association (BAIA) Spokesperson Jacob Sesinyi said it is a controversial issue, saying that government has already consulted them.

“We have met with government officials on the issue and there were mixed views on it but the bottom line is that the government proposed amendment will give customers convenience to buy anytime”. 

“Selling of alcohol in petrol stations and supermarkets is nothing new, it is even there in South Africa, so those with better financial muscle will be catered for,” said Sesinyi.

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