BUSINESS

BULK SALES OF OPAQUE BEER RAISE HEALTH RISKS

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Stakeholders demand stricter enforcement of law

nationAL BREWERIES

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – October 20, 2015 – Sales of opaque beer in illegal unregulated bulk packaging are a danger to public health and a hazard to road-users, the country’s leading Chibuku brewer has warned.

The caution came from National Breweries, which has called for a crackdown on the illicit practice and wants to see stricter enforcement of the regulations by local councils.

Statutory Instrument No. 72 of 2012 – the Liquor Licensing (Intoxicating Liquor) (Quantities and Packaging) Regulation, 2012 – bans the production, transport and sale of alcohol in bulk containers.

However, this legislation has not been fully enforced or is selectively enforced as is evidenced by the dramatic increase in illegal sales. This poses a danger to public health for a number of reasons.

The sale of bulk opaque beer encourages irresponsible drinking which leads to associated social ills.

The trucks used are often not roadworthy, causing a road safety hazard. Accidents involving these trucks are often some of the most damaging and dangerous accidents on the roads.

Illegal bulk opaque beer sales also result in a loss of tax revenue to government.

There has been an influx of illegal bulk sales of opaque beer. The illegal sales are estimated to have increased from 3.8 million hectolitres last year to 4.5 million hectolitres this year.

With this in mind National Breweries has kicked off a campaign to raise public awareness of the problem, and call for the enforcement of the law.

The group’s Corporate Affairs Director Ezekiel Sekele and Corporate Affairs Manager Notulu Mwanawina Mulenga discussed the issue on the Radio Phoenix breakfast show recently to launch a campaign to raise public awareness of the problem, and call for the enforcement of the law. The group has indicated its desire to work closely with city councils in tackling the problem.

“We have noticed the dramatic increase in the number of local breweries that are participating in the sale of illegal bulk opaque beer. The consequences associated with this practice are innumerable and this poses a great challenge to communities, and also at the national level. As National Breweries, we feel manufacturers have a duty to be responsible, to take hygienic production seriously and to be law abiding,” explained Mr Sekele.

“We are looking forward to offering our support to the relevant authorities in order to inhibit any further growth of this practice,” Mr Sekele added.

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