MBABANE: Thamsanqa Hlatjwako, the Secretary General of the Swaziland National Liquor Association (SNLA) said they welcomed the lifting of the ban on alcohol but request government to at least allow them to trade even during weekends to counter the black market.
The sentiments from the Liquor Association come after Senator Themba Masuku, the Acting Prime Minister announced the relaxation of the partial lockdown measures, which among them included the unbanning of alcohol. The Acting Prime Minister said the sale of alcohol was allowed with effect from 22 March and liquor outlets would operate between 9am and 5 pm from Monday to Thursday.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, the SNLA Secretary General said the four days was not enough adding that it would have been better if it also covered weekends.
“We have been closed for a long time and working for four days a week means we will not break even.People are not drinking on Monday and Tuesday, it would have been better if we were to sell between Wednesday and Saturday. In that way we would be able to counter the black market, as the situation stands, the black market will thrive yet it is not generating any revenue for government. Some liquor traders don't have money to replenish their stock since the lockdown has hit them hard, this arrangement seems to favour big retailers since they already have the financial muscle to replenish their stock”, he said.
Acting Prime Minister Senator Themba Masuku(pic: Gov)