22 September 2017

South Africa: Liquor Industry Transformation

The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and liquor industry role players have committed to transforming the industry.

This commitment was made at the Liquor Industry Transformation seminar that was hosted by the dti in Midrand on Thursday.

Chief Director of the dti's National Liquor Authority (NLA), Prea Ramdhuny, said while much has been accomplished to deracialise the economy, the extent to which the majority of black people participated meaningfully in the economy has to be accelerated.

"From today, we will make a commitment, and the commitment is that the agenda shall change. We have an obligation as leaders in government and industry to make a difference, to remove structural economic barriers that will facilitate new entrants in the future. Let us focus on ownership, control and value chains to facilitate change and make meaningful participation. We have had the conversations and our focus should now be on implementation," said Ramdhuny.

Ramdhuny said government and the industry working together would contribute to building an equal society through sustained and inclusive growth.

President of the South African Youth Chamber of Commerce (SAYCC), Thapelo Maleke, said that while his organisation welcomed transformation within the liquor sector, the effectiveness of liquor regulations must be debated.

"There is very little SMME activity in the liquor industry because most of the big players choose to conduct most of their manufacturing to distribution activities in-house. Some of the few SMMEs appointed as distributors are allowed to handle the products of that producer only, which affects their ability to grow their business and achieve operational independence," he said.

The seminar was part of the dti's initiative to interrogate compliance regarding Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) as outlined in the B-BBEE Act and sector codes as well as the disparities and challenges encountered within the liquor industry regarding transformation, the challenges experienced by Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) within the liquor industry.

The seminar also looked at ways in which government and the liquor industry could work together to increase participation of black people in the industry.

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