GOVERNMENT is disturbed by the continued flouting of the law regulating sale of alcohol in the country, Local Government and Housing Minister Emerine Kabanshi has said.
Ms Kabanshi said she was concerned with the mushrooming of unlicensed drinking places, some of which were operating in very poor sanitary conditions.
Ms Kabanshi expressed the concern in Kitwe on Wednesday night when she officiated at the launch of the Kitwe District Liquor Traders Association (KDLTA) held at Hotel Edinburgh.
She said Government had noted with concern the existence of illegal bottle stores and bars that were dotted all-over the communities including markets.
This, Ms Kabanshi said, was a big area of concern to Government because most, if not all these mushrooming unlicensed drinking places, were in very poor sanitary condition.
"It is Government's hope that associations such as yours and other stakeholders will help combat these vices," Ms Kabanshi said.
The minister said Government was concerned with the irresponsible alcohol consumption, especially underage drinking, which could lead to terrible social vices.
It was in this vein that she was happy with the formation of the KDLTA, saying it was through formation of such associations that the nation could enhance and promote organised and orderly conduct among the liquor traders and hence help combat alcohol abuses.
"I note that the aims and objectives of the KDLTA include to be a collective voice of the members in their interactions with civic and Government authorities, to contribute to the development of the liquor industry as an important and integral part of the economy, and to promote HIV/AIDS awareness and high standards of hygiene among members and clients," she said.
She said in view of these noble aims and objectives, the association was assured of Government's support.
Ms Kabanshi said Government supported and would continue to support the formation of associations which added value to the Zambian economy.
Earlier, association president Phillip Ngoma said the KDLTA was the only second such association to be formed, the other one being for Lusaka Province.