MBABANE: Thamsanqa Hlatjwako, the Secretary General (SG) of the Swaziland National Liquor Association (SNLA) said as part of easing the lockdown government must consider lifting the alcohol ban and further allow them to trade on weekends as means of countering the black market that continues to destroy their businesses.
The sentiments of the Liquor Association Secretary General come in the midst of international reports suggesting that some countries are already imposing a full-lockdown amid fears that the COVID-19 third wave might be severe. Eswatini Beverages, a company that produces alcohol has been struggling to operate since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even if the alcohol ban were to be lifted, most businesses would struggle to survive because of the black market. We made a proposal to government that in the event they unban the sale of alcohol, our businesses should be allowed to also operate during weekends in order to counter the effects of the black market. Operating from Monday to Thursday doesn’t make any business sense since most of our clients are at work during these times, the black market thrives well on weekends since that’s when people get the time to consume alcohol”, he said.
When reached for comments, Meluleki Dlamini, the Director of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) within the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade said Cabinet was still deliberating on the issue.
“As we speak Cabinet is locked in a meeting and is discussing all issues regarding the Partial Lockdown, let’s wait for the Acting Prime Minister’s speech then we will know our position”, said the Director.