Malawi MP calls for total ban on alcohol satchets

Malawi government has been persuaded to ban  sale of liquor in plastic sachets.

Many  Malawians have  expressed concern over youth’s binge drinking especially  strong liquor which is cheaper in satchets.

Further public outcry is caused by the fact that several people have died from consuming the alcohol  in large quantities.

Dzoole Mwale: Ban satchets

In a bid address the situation, government in the 2012/2013 financial plan, slapped a 250 percent excise tax on alcohol in sachets and plastic bottles.

But  member of parliament for Lilongwe Msozi South (MCP), Vitus Dzoole Mwale said “ it is gratifying to note that in the budget statement drastic measures have been taken on excise duty on alcohol in sachets and plastic bottles.”

Dzoole Mwale said  alcohol in sachets is “totally being abused mainly by the youth to an extent that a young child aged even 10 years nowadays is found taking alcohol in sachets because it is very cheap.”

He said Malawi is “ losing many lives because of the strong alcohol abuse.”

Dzoole Mwale  called for a total ban on alcohol sachets.

“  Mr. Speaker, Sir, to this effect if we are to have a healthy generation, a generation that will be productive and instrumental to the development of this country in the future, I hereby do strongly recommend to government to ban the sachets,” he said.

Drug Fight Malawi executive director Nelson Zakeyu is also campaigning for the ban of alcohol in satchets , “saying Zambia did it early this year, why not us?”

Journalist-cum- youth activist, Kondwani Munthali, has also been using his award winning blog to campaign for the ban of alcohol in satchets.

According to Munthali, in the capital city’s residential town, Area 18,  17 young people have died  from liver, kidney  or stomach complications arising from alcoholism, while across the country the figure of young people between the ages of 13 to 30 dying is on the rise.

“It’s high time we did something and stop these paid up murders of the young generation,” he says.

“We cannot continue to accept these deaths, violence including gang rapes, suicides, deformation and chronic illnesses emerging from alcohol abuse.

“The problem is that even in primary schools, young kids get these sachets and drink them in classrooms. It is time for this country to be serious and ban this type of alcohol,” he writes.

Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) decided in June 2010 to ban the sale of liquor in plastic bags. The decisions provided that all liquor must be sold in glass bottle and that MBS should define a minimum size of such containers.

The producers were given a six months grace period to phase out the use of plastic containers and to introduce glass bottles.

The grace period ended 17th January this year. However, the ban could not be enforced by the government. One of the distilling companies, Abwensi Group which produces the Rider brand of spirits, had obtained a court injunction which restrains the MBS to enforce the ban of sachets on its company.

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