Gaborone — Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has announced a comprehensive review of the Liquor Act.
Briefing the media in Gaborone on June 16, the minister, Ms Peggy Serame said the ministry would undertake a consultation exercise on the review process.
She said the review process would be in part, a result of one of the valuable lessons learnt from the response to COVID-19.
Ms Serame said it was about time government engaged in a conversation with the public about liquor consumption and liquor related activities.
Furthermore, Ms Serame said as part of the new normal, trading hours of different liquor outlets had also been reviewed as per the feedback from the industry during the COVID-19 period.
She said previous trading hours which were applicable for all liquor outlets disadvantaged others and as such they had to be reviewed.
She said trading hours for bottle stores were revisited to ensure access during the day while for the bars in restaurants including bars in hotels, times were also revised to allow for seat-in consumption for the stated hours.
Furthermore, Ms Serame said she was pleased with the feedback she received with regard to compliance measures since the resumption of the sale of liquor.
She noted that it was now two weeks since sale of liquor resumed and the compliance measures were practised.
Minister Serame noted that law enforcement and other stakeholders had closely monitored the situation at alcohol outlets and from the general observation, compliance was good.
"I am happy to say since the sale of alcohol stated, there has been compliance, use of registers, sanitizers and other relevant measures are observed," she said.
Meanwhile Minister Serame has said the country had suffered a hard blow on tax from the alcohol industry.
She said Botswana Unified Revenue Services collected P3 000 in May as compared to the P61 million in January.
On other issues, Ms Serame said discussions on the sale of traditional beer would be concluded early next month and that resumption would follow based on task team recommendations.
For his part, Botswana Alcohol Industry Association (BAIA) chairperson, Mr Mothusi Molokomme said some of the challenges encountered during lockdown period included illicit trade of alcohol and proliferation of home brews.
He said the practices and several others skyrocketed as a result of non-availability of legal trade during lockdown.
Mr Molokomme said the association would continue with awareness and compliance messages through billboards and online media platforms.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>