The Minister of Trade and Industrialization has implored the business community to report any unwarranted delay in the issuance or renewal of temporary and permanent liquor licenses, saying every business is crucial to the upliftment of the country's struggling economy.

The minister was speaking during a stakeholders' engagement on consumer protection, the liquor licensing process and related matters.

Some of the issues raised are that magistrates and officials tasked with approving or renewing liquor licenses make decisions based on personal preferences, which is in violation of the set laws and regulations.

"If you see that the license has expired and you need to renew in March, but you are at the mercy of the magistrate to renew your license, in fact, the meeting of the license is only in November; we are currently operating without a license because that particular magistrate is not available to convene meetings. I think it's very serious because we have financial implications because you pay the money to the brewery for delivery but you cannot sell because you don't have a license and the magistrate cannot convene meetings. It's a very serious concern, and if the magistrate doesn't convene meetings, the law does not require a punitive measure to be followed because it's affecting the economy."

She has encouraged the business community to report any magistrate who is refusing or dragging their feet in performing their duties.

They also questioned why already existing licence holders should have to wait a long time for renewals, in addition to the limited operational hours on public holidays, which they say are the most favourable days to do business.

Participants also questioned why regions operate differently based on locations, renewals, and appeals of both long-term and temporary liquor licenses.

In her response, Minister Iipumbu says the magistrates should toe the line and uphold the law at all times.
Iipumbu also informed the meeting that in a few years' time, trading in liquor at establishments that are in close proximity to schools will not be allowed as this practice has become a nuisance to the learners.

Photo Credits
New Era Newspaper


Ndapanda Shuuya