Business people criticise the liquor Act…judge admits the law is vague

By Erasmus Shalihaxwe

VARIOUS business people who own liquor outlets or into the business of selling alcohol, said the Liquor Act of 1998 is outdated as it does not speak to the current economic realities, and needs reform as soon as possible to be clear on what is required from liquor licenses holders.

Business people expressed their dissatisfaction with the law during a Stakeholders Engagement on Consumer Protection, Liquor Licensing Process and related matters recently held in Windhoek.

The engagement was organiSed by the Ministry of Trade and Industrialisation in Windhoek, and it is set to continue to all regions for the ministry to see where the act needs to be amended.

One of the participant Ismael Iyambo, who owns a bar in Katutura, said the law is very confusing and they are often classing with law enforcement agencies on operating time and days, or where and how the liquor outlet should be set up. He also blamed politicians for failing to deliver basic services to informal settlement which disqualify business people residing in those areas.

“Sometimes you find yourself being confronted by police officers that you are not complying with the law for operating on Sunday and public holidays, but the license says the opposite. But seems to apply only to some people, well connect people are not touched. If you go to Katutura, almost the whole of Havana have a sanitation problem which automatically disqualify those colleagues from acquiring liquor licenses, and this is the fault of politicians, they promise these things during election campaigns and never deliver,” Iyambo said.

Another participant who refused to be identified, said requirements to obtain the liquor license are too strict and outdated. Thus some people are always caught outside the law because some requirements are impossible to meet.