THE government plans to convene a meeting this week to decide on the fate of the outlawed sachet-packaged liquor consignments confiscated during a recent countrywide operation.
The government banned the sachet-packaged alcohol in February this year, setting February 28 the deadline for its supply and consumption in the country, before it launched fierce countrywide campaign against the liquor consumption on March 1.
Last month, the Minister of State in the Vice-President’s Office, Union Affairs and Environment, January Makamba said about 100,000 cartons of sachet-packed liquor worth over 10bn/- were impounded in a three-day crackdown in Dar es Salaam alone.
Briefing journalists over the operation, Mr Makamba said there were piles of viroba liquor seized in some industries and stores, pending distribution.
He said the impounded consignments in the city would remain under watch at their respective industries and stores, to protect them from reaching consumers, as the government was still pondering on the next move.
It is now over one month since the consignments have been kept under watch, triggering questions among the public over the government plan on the seized cargo of hard liquor.
Mr Makamba said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the confiscated cargo was waiting for completion of the countrywide operation, hinting that the government may this week be in a position to publicly state the way forward.
“The operation was still continuing in other regions and we expect to compile the reports from all regions next week (this week)...we will hold the meeting at the end of the week to discuss on the matter,” the minister said, adding that the compiled report will detail the total amount of sachet liquor seized and whether they had been taxed.
In Dar es Salaam, some business people have been complaining over the confiscation, which they have described as ill-fated and costly because they had already paid tax on the products.
The crackdown on liquor prompted a Dodoma-based famous trader Festo Mselia to shoot himself to death after his multimillion cargo of the sachetliquor he bought on bank’s loan was seized.
At a press conference last month, Mr Makamba said the government will deliberate on the best way to compensate for the consignments on which taxes had already been paid.
The ban followed the government consideration for environmental and health effects of the plastic sachet-packed alcohol.
During the crackdown, the task force also discovered several illegal practices by producers and suppliers of the sachet-packed alcohol, with some crooks reportedly found with substandard and unregistered brands of spirit like Red Wine, Banjuka, Officer’s Cane Spirit and Flash Ginna Dragon.
Some producers and suppliers lacked the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificates from the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority and Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), with others found to have evaded taxes.
While some sachets lacked Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) stickers, others had doubtful stickers, necessitating further investigations.
The National Environment Management Council has been directed to closely monitor the industries that were found operating without EIA and take legal measures against them.