Retailers association wants the state to provide land

The President of Namibia Retailers Association (NRA), Andreas Nuule, said that the state needs to provide land before implementation of the liquor act that prohibited liquor outlets from selling alcohol in residential areas.

 The National Assembly has passed the Liquor Act Amendment bill prohibiting construction of alcohol outlets and the sale of alcohol near educational institutions, churches and health centres last week.

According to Nuule NRA, is planning on submitting an objection letter to the National Assembly once all facts on how this will affect the shebeen owners have been put on paper. “Most of the liquor outlets or shebeens you see in most of the informal settlements are home to most of the business people that sell alcoholic beverages. We are not against the law but the question remains where will these people go because it is their livelihood and they make a living from selling alcohol so it will only be fair if the state provides land for us to put up our business structure’s,” Nuule said.

 He added that the move will contribute towards increasing unemployment and will cause poverty amongst the already unemployed that venture in selling alcoholic beverages for a living. There are currently more than 70 000 shebeens registered with the association country wide and close to 13 000 registered shebeens in Windhoek alone.

According to Nuule financial institutions will also be affected by the new liquor act that prohibits the sale of alcohol at residential areas and community outlets. “The shebeen owners are banking their income daily compared to a person that is employed so the move will definitely also affect the banking institutions in terms of a little money they are making from this business people daily. Even the Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) workers will be affected as they employ many people to help distribute the beverages all over the country to shebeens and this will have a very bad effect on our economy,” he said.

He added that all outlets operate from permanent structures set up with money by business people from their pockets and the state needs to consider refunding all business owners once they have been removed from their present business places. However, the bill does not prohibit the sale of alcohol in residential areas once consent has been given by the community living in the residential area. However, Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), Member of Parliament Elma Dienda state there is no need to grant new shebeen licenses to persons that are living in residential areas in parliament last week.

“We stay in residential areas with our children and I don’t see a need to grant more licenses for persons who stay in residential areas to open up shebeens, enough is enough for now, we already have many shebeens’ that are out of control and make noise during the wee hours,” Dienda said. She further added that those that are already based on the residential grounds will phase out slowly but surely until there are no shebeens left in the residential areas.