Botswana govt backs down on 'alcohol levy'

Gaborone- Botswana (PANA) -- The government of Botswana has backed down on its decision to impose a 30 per cent levy on alcoholic beverages to curb excessive drinking in the African nation, the local press reported.
The decision to suspend the levy followed the ''embarrassing'' discovery by the government that it was the majority shareholder in the country's main Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL).
The state invested in the firm through the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) and the Sechaba Holdings.
The government's decision has forced brewing firms to withdraw the case they filed against the government at the high court.
Meanwhile, the government has kept in place the shortened hours of operation for night clubs and beer parlours as part of efforts to curb excessive consumption of alcohol in the country.
Despite a petition submitted to President Ian Khama by entertainers to protest against the tough law, night clubs are still to shut down at midnight on week days and 2 a.
m.
local time on weekends.
The local artists contend that the new regulation will cost them their jobs since they are mostly hired to perform at nightclubs, and that fewer hours would mean less money for them.

18 october 2008 12:40:00




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