Liquor in sachets still available in the market -MPs

06Feb 2018
Polycarp Machira
DODOMA
The Guardian
Liquor in sachets still available in the market -MPs

MEMBERS of Parliament have called on the government to act swiftly and stop trading of illicit liquor, saying the cheap hard drinks pose health risk as well as lose of revenue to the government.

Speaking while contributing on the Parliamentary Industry, Trade and Environment Committee report tabled in the National Assembly, they argued that some of the hard drinks that are increasingly getting into the market are produced by factories that do not pay taxes.

 

“Why is the government taking too long to act on this matter which affects industries and lead to loss of revenue,” said Mtera MP, Livingstone Lusinde. He said while the government banned production of sachet liquor, the same products are in the market through the back door.

 

The lawmaker noted that alcohol is now packed in bottles without TBS or TRA stickers, saying this makes it difficult to know the quality of the products.  He called on the government to give clear report on how to deal with the problem.

 

Lusinde also argued that the manufacturers of cheap liquor evade tax and cause unfair businesses competition and they do not support the government’s industrial drive.

 

He told the government to act in the same way it did while banning production, sale, importation and consumption of over 32 brands of 50-millilitre sachets of liquor that existed in the market.

 

Speaking while winding up the debate, the chairperson of the committee, Suleiman Saddiq  also argued that the government loses a lot of money in revenue through such factories that produce illicit alcohol.

 

“The government should not relent in the war against these factories, let the law take its course and if possible close the factories,” he said.

 

The Mvomero MP, noted that there are a lot of fake stickers in the market, calling for TRA to change their system. He also warned that there is likelihood that some officials within TRA also provide stickers to such manufacturers.

 

But in his response, Minister for Industries, Trade and Investment, Charles Mwijage said the government was aware of the problem and was working on it. He also called on fellow lawmakers to help in naming such factories.

 

“They sell in plastic bottles and much below the required quantity without the proper stickers,” he said, adding that they are just like any other criminals who should be arrested. He said protection of industries should be done by all people and not the government alone.

 

A random survey by this paper has revealed that there are over 20 brands of illicit liquor in the market, selling at different prices despite having the same being packed in the same quantity.

 

They are found in different regions, mostly from Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Shinyanga and Geita, several of them having different TRA stickers though they are of the same quantity.

 

 

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