Alcohol Industry Calls For Restrictions To Be Eased
The alcohol industry wants the government to allow for alcohol to be sold for off-site consumption on weekends. The National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) and the Liquor Traders Association of South Africa (LTASA) said this will put small businesses and independent traders at less risk of shutting down.
The NLTC and the LTASA wrote a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking for the current regulations on the sale of alcohol to be eased. Nearly 10 000 taverns represented by the council have closed while 12 500 are struggling to make money.
The current regulations only allow for alcohol to be sold on Mondays to Thursdays from 9am to 5pm, excluding public holidays.
“We make a very substantial contribution to our country’s tax revenues, including corporate income tax, VAT, PAYE, UIF, SDL, and excise duties; and form part of a value-added chain with multiple other businesses being contracted to our members.” read the letter.
Representative of the alcohol industry, Lucky Ntimane said relaxing the regulations will encourage more people to drink alcohol from home instead of going out to taverns and restaurants for it on weekends.
“Currently as it is, all pressure is placed on the on-consumption of liquor which is the taverns, pubs and restaurants but none whatsoever allowed for the at home consumption which we feel will play a bigger role on managing the potential spread of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Alcohol retailers are also affected by the regulations which do not allow them to sell alcohol on weekends. This means that taverns are unable to stock up on weekends.
He said the current regulations have created a secondary market where alcohol is sold illegally. Unlike legal traders of alcohol, this secondary market doesn’t make contributions towards tax and doesn’t advocate for the responsible consumption of alcohol.
“What has happened now is that the illegal guys have taken over. They’re running multiple sophisticated supply chains over the weekend so that they can supply these restaurants and bars.
Ntimane wants the livelihoods of people in the alcohol industry to be protected.
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