Thursday, March 2, 2017

Traders: Alcohol sachets ban big blow


By The Citizen reporters @TheCitizenTz

Dar/Mwanza/Tabora. Some traders say they are suffering great losses following the government’s decision to ban manufacture and consumption of alcohol packed in sachets popularly known as viroba.

Speaking during separate interviews with The Citizen yesterday, they said the government’s decision would not only cause losses to investors, but also render thousands of Tanzanians jobless.

In Dar es Salaam, the minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Environment), Mr January Makamba, led a team of Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA), the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), the police and the National Environmental Council (Nemc) to inspect various companies, which manufactured alcohol packed in sachets. In the process, a total of 7,067 cartons of alcohol packed in sachets from Nyati Spirits located in Vingunguti in Dar es Salaam have been seized.

Speaking to reporters, TFDA Eastern Zone manager Emmanuel Alphonse said TFDA would launch a major operation throughout the country from today onward. For his part, Nyati Spirits executive director Rupa Sunchik said the company had already laid off a total of 150 employees following the ban on viroba.

The executive director of one of the manufacturers of alcohol packed sachets, Pama Company limited, Mr Patrick Marwa, told The Citizen that the company would lose more than Sh300 million. “Apart from incurring the loss, the decision would render more than 70 people jobless,” he told The Citizen.

Mr Donald Makenge, one of the owners of liquor shops in Tabora, queried why the government hadn’t given them enough time to clear their stocks, while they had paid tax and other charges.

For his part, Mr Cosmas Emmanuel, a retailer along Liberty Street in Mwanza said he would lose Sh13 million as a result of the government’s decision because there were 200 cartons remaining.

However, a survey conducted by The Citizen established that some traders had continued selling liquor packed in sachets albeit secretly.

“Our boss has directed us to continue selling them until we clear the stock, but we don’t sell to new customers because we fear they may be police officers,” a waiter at one of the bars along Mandela Road, who preferred anonymity told The Citizen.

In Tabora, a sachet of alcohol, which is normally sold at Sh1,500, retailed at Sh2,000, The Citizen has established. Some viroba consumers poured the liquid into bottles to avoid being caught by the police.