Chibuku Products Limited (CPL) has warned that the country would face social and economic challenges if government does not engage all stakeholders in the ongoing discussions to formulate a National Alcohol Policy (NAP).
Briefing journalists in Blantyre on Tuesday, CPL board of directors said that much as they applaud governmentâ€™s efforts to develop the policy, which among other things aims at improving peopleâ€™s health by curbing alcohol abuse and underage drinking, all would be in vain if alcohol producers are not involved.
President Joyce Bandaâ€™s government has threatened to ban sale of alcohol in sachets following rampant abuse of alcohol by minors. And in the 2012/13 national budget, government increased excise duty on alcohol sold in sachets and plastic bottles from 150 to 250 percent to deter youths from taking alcohol.
â€œWe are aware government is discussing the formulation of the policy, but as alcohol producers, we are concerned that our exclusion from the deliberations would have a negative impact on the countryâ€™s economy,â€ said CPL human resources and corporate affairs manager Wise Chauluka.
He said the current draft of the NAP needs to be reviewed to recognise the role the industry plays in responsible drinking initiatives.
CPL operations director Gerald Bowler, who was also accompanied by business development manager Barter Chunga and finance director Anthony Malenga at the briefing, said CPL contributes a lot to the development of the country in terms of creating employment and paying taxes.