By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THE National Council on Monday referred the much debated Liquor Amendment Bill to its committee on Public Accounts for public consultation.
The motion that the Bill be referred to the committee was submitted by Swapo Member of Parliament and Tondoro constituency councillor Lukas Muha. He said there was a need for the committee to review the provision of the Bill and investigate its implications.
“I suggest the bill be referred to the committee on Public Accounts for further review and consultations with stakeholders and the report be brought back to the House before October 20th 2016,” he said.
Discussing the Bill that will add more teeth to the state’s crackdown on alcohol on Thursday, Engela constituency councillor Jason Ndakunda proposed shebeens to operate from 14h00-22h00. He further encouraged the House to look into the issues of minimum wage for the people working in shebeens and special liquor licences that allow shebeens owners to sell alcohol for the whole night.
“I call these ill-begotten riches. People are becoming rich by causing noise pollution, exploitation of workers by paying them peanuts and illegal gambling. Colleagues, let’s do a holistic job once and for all. Let’s solicit for public views before we pass this bill,” said Ndakunda.
Swapo MP Melania Ndjago from Karibib constituency proposed an increase of the alcohol age restriction to 20 years from the current 18 years. Early last month National Assembly MPs raised issues with the Bill questioning why the amendment act had omitted special liquor licences, which according to them are the biggest concern in the country.
During the debate, DTA president McHenry Venaani said lawmakers must consider the fact that some people would lose their income if shebeens were closed. However, Venaani’s claim was contested by the deputy Minister of Safety Daniel Kashikola who said the government must weigh this loss of income against the number of children failing their exams because they are subjected to loud noise emanating from nearby shebeens.rs also believed that loss of income is not an important factor to be considered because people would find other ways to make money.
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