Trade minister’s liquor bill puts 1 500 jobs at risk

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Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is seeking permission from Cabinet to pass legislation – the Liquor Amendment Bill – which, according to a study jointly commissioned by his own department, is expected to cut more than 1 500 direct jobs and R1.2 billion in revenue from the country’s economy.

The Liquor Amendment Bill proposes the restriction, or even a total ban, of alcohol advertising to try to stop alcohol abuse.

The trade and industry department commissioned an independent study of the bill. Conducted by research consultant firm Genesis Analytics, the study showed that even though some of the proposals in the bill might have limited health and social benefits in reducing alcohol harm, the negative consequences of the bill are significant.

The study projects a loss of 1 533 jobs in the alcohol industry, a loss of R400 million revenue for the advertising sector and a combined R800 million loss for SABC, e.tv and MultiChoice.

The bill proposes increasing the legal drinking age from 18 to 21, supposedly to try to curb the problem of underage drinking.

What has stunned most legal experts even more is the provision in the bill that holds owners/suppliers of alcoholic brands liable for damages caused by an intoxicated person.

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