Carlsberg Malawi says it advocates for responsible alcohol consumption and has asked government to speed up the development of the Alcohol Policy to bring sanity in the industry.
The company, touted as the largest taxpayer in Malawi with 30 percent market share in the alcohol industry, has asked government to take a tough stance on the proliferation of sub-standard ethanol which some companies use to manufacture spirit packaged in sachets.
â€œThe Alcohol Policy will enforce responsible drinking and also address the legal drinking age,â€ said Carlsberg Malawi chief executive officer Abel Chanje at a briefing with journalists at the brewerâ€™s head office in Blantyre on Wednesday.
He faulted governmentâ€™s intentions to ban the sale of sachet spirits, arguing the move does not work because traders decide to go underground, a situation that may prove tough for authorities to deal with.
In the 2012/13 budget, Finance Minister Dr. Ken Lipenga announced the increased excise duty rate to 250 percent on alcohol sold in sachets and plastic bottles to curb alcohol abuse by minors which is increasing at a fast pace.
But Chanje said government needs to ensure that substandard ethanol, which is mostly used to manufacture paint and some pharmaceutical products, is not found on the market, stressing that if the policy were in place, issues such as these could be curbed.
He said his company, as a responsible corporate citizen, has offered some concerned parties involved in the formulation of the policy to go to countries such as Kenya and Zambia to learn how they came up with their policies.
Commenting on operations, the companyâ€™s commercial director Gavin Udal said they expect sales to go down 20 percent this year on Carlsberg sales because of the economic situation characterised by galloping inflation and escalating cost of living that has reduced peopleâ€™s purchasing power.
Available statistics show that in 2010, the company paid K9 billion (about $36m) tax, which was about six percent of the countryâ€™s gross domestic product (GDP). This was against the profit after tax of K1.7 billion (about $6.8m) the brewer and beverages manufacturer made in the year.
Last week, a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) Drug Fight Malawi bemoaned that the fight against alcoholism in the country will not easily be won because the liquor industry is strong to the extent that it can sponsor expensive activities in the world.