Govt to Tighten Alcohol Rules

THE Ministry of Trade and Industry plans to introduce regulations that will reduce opening hours of shebeens and pubs, amidst calls to ban the sale of alcohol on Sundays.

The Namibian is informed that Minister of Trade and Industry Calle Schlettwein is set to brief Cabinet for possible measures aimed at recusing the abuse of alcohol in the country.

According to a source, the new regulation will focus on reducing the opening hours of liquor outlets, strict rules on location of those outlets and tighten rules over age limit.

Schlettwein told The Namibian yesterday that he will provide clarity on the steps his ministry has taken on regulating the alcohol industry.

Revelations about the steps to be taken by government follow a proposal by Swapo member of parliament Lucia Witbooi to ban the sale of alcohol on Sunday because it is a “holy day”.

“Lawmakers should not tolerate [the] sale of alcohol on Sundays, therefore stricter laws should be put in place,” she said.

The MP also lashed out at politicians who sell alcohol. “Leaders should be encouraged to set an example, and should not be selling alcohol as some have been doing under aliases,” she said.

DTA politician Philemon Moongo owns several shebeens but they are registered, he said.

He also said that his business started from humble beginnings and has now grown significantly.

The Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Doreen Sioka, suggested that government should place more control over traditional alcohol and that traditional leaders be assisted by officers in order to keep order in the areas under their supervision.

“These are the permanent leaders who we leave behind in the villages. They should be given police officers, so that they can be able to control the mushrooming of sheebens in the rural areas,” Sioka said.

Minister of Lands and Resettlement Alpheus !Naruseb expressed his views on how the apartheid government’s decision to restrict the sale of alcohol benefited the masses since it kept people sober.

He said the only time they as youngsters tasted a little bit of alcohol, was during Christmas or on special days, however, now alcohol is widely available.

The Namibian reported last year that a number of regions had proposed that government imposes a five-year ban on alcohol sale in Namibia in order to curb the abuse of liquor in the country, a suggestion that was confirmed by committee member Maureen Jankowski. The final report did neither mention nor highlight such recommendation.

The debate on alcohol was part of the the report on alcohol abuse in Namibia that was tabled by the parliamentary standing committee on human resources, social and community development.

A parliamentary committee research into the abuse of alcohol in Namibia has revealed widespread misuse of money by pensioners on liquor, different rules on the opening and closing times of shebeens and called for controls on traditional alcohol brews.

The profit made by alcohol seller Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) has continued to increase over the years. Last year, the company announced a profit of N$170 million after tax in six months. Interim results by NBL during the same period shows that revenue increased to N$1,35 billion, up from N$1,22 billion in 2012.

Source : The Namibian