The ban on the sale of alcohol, which has seen the largest alcohol producer and distributor Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL) suspending its operations, has now torn cabinet apart.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Edwin Dikoloti announced on Janaury 03 that government had taken a decision to suspend the sale of alcohol with immediate effect.
“During the restriction on movement, the following shall apply with immediate effect: the sale of alcohol is suspended. Consumption of liquor in public places is also suspended,” he announced to the shock of the industry players.
During a cabinet meeting held on Wednesday which was to make determination on whether to lift suspension on the sale of alcohol, cabinet ministers are said to be bitterly divided over the issue.
The suspension on the sale of alcohol has severely affected the alcohol industry with some establishment closing shop and retrenching staff. Minister of Investment Trade and Industry Peggy Serame declined to comment saying she cannot comment on cabinet matters. Serame is said to have put a spirited campaign pleading with her cabinet colleagues to allow the sale of liquor on takeaway basis. A cabinet minister confided that some senior cabinet ministers are against the lifting of the ban on sale of alcohol saying it will exacerbate the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
“Though not backed up with any scientific research there is believe that the surge in the cases of Covid-19 were result of alcohol sale during the festive season,” confided one cabinet minister.
Those who are advocating for the sale of alcohol have reasoned that the country is losing a lot of revenue as the black market which is not being regulated is thriving.
“We demanded that the suspension on the of liquor sale and to some extent its consumption be lifted because it is a lesser evil compared to the major evil which is the use of drugs and counterfeit alcohol,” he said.
Recently police in Serule arrested a Gaborone-bound truck which was loaded with over 2, 000 bottles of liquor beverages with an estimated market value of about P200, 000.
The minister who refused to be named said that by banning the ‘minor evil’ of alcohol, the government had given the ‘major evil’ of drugs to flourish in the country.
“In my personal opinion, the government should relax the ban on liquor to arrest the rising trend of the use of drugs and contraband spirits which will have devastating health effects in the future,” he said.
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