Alcohol policy is a working tool to achieve positive developments in society, making the economy more productive, propelling societal development and promoting prosperity. Evidence-based alcohol policies lead to decreasing the amount of alcohol used in a society and thus the harm caused.
The kinds of alcohol policy that address the effective control of how alcohol is sold, by who, where, when and how are outlined by the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy. Its elements include: taxation, retail regulations, under age alcohol use limits, alcohol control systems, provisions for public transportation and places, regulation of production, bans on alcohol marketing, the provision of alcohol free environments and many more.
It also clear that some of the above issues highlight moral issues, for example regarding alcohol production, alcohol marketing and profit-making from alcohol.
Most countries in Africa do NOT have alcohol acts and policies in place which as a result creates a vacum whereby the law enforcement agencies in respective African countries do not have the mandate and credibility to enforce any violations and unethical conduct related to alcohol. That leaves a huge opening for the multi-national alcohol companies to taking advantage and making huge profits in Africa. Cynically, such profits have not made any meaningful contribution to the social development and economy of African countries because a lot of the income is taken abroad by the global alcohol corporations. The money leaves and leaves behind a continuity of poverty, crime and many more social ills.
My country Ghana has approved a draft alcohol policy far before Kenya signed its Mututho Law into law in 2010. And yet Ghana is still not having an alcohol policy signed into law today, but is still deciding. And the lobby machines which include the multinationals of Big Alcohol are behind the delay in passing the bill.
The newest strategy by the multinationals is to down play this ambition so as to stay in business in Ghana, now creating a platform in a form of projecting that they are working towards the policy to be passed, but on the contrary the keep delaying with a project called Accra Brewery Trains Retailers On Alcohol Policy.
I just wonder about the aim behind this training, because without an effective alcohol policy in the country – knowing fully well that these operators are there to maximise profit – how can there be effective enforcement? The ABL company has decided to educate/train its key stakeholders, retailers of its alcoholic products on how they can “responsibly” serve alcohol to the consuming public.
Evidence from around the world shows that self-regulation, like this type we see in Ghana, is not working.
The question is:
How can someone responsibly learn to serve alcohol to the public? (considering the damage it causes)
The multinational company’s current training program on its so called alcohol policy does not indicate the aggresive nature of advertisement they make and target towards youth. Neither does it indicate its tremendous negative impact which is both immoral and irresponsible advertisement which has huge negative social implications.
The way which minors are using alcohol is at alarming levels, is a burden on the societal, health and economic development of Ghana and is the source for high profit for Big Alcohol.
It’s obvious that the so called training by these multinational companies to educate operators on their alcohol policy and learn to serve alcohol to the public, is just for their own interest to undermine the efforts to implement an alcohol policy in Ghana. With no legal ground on alcohol policy in place it leaves even the law enforcement agency not to have any power to effect any arrest even to operators that even sell at homes or to minors.
So how can a multinational company initiate a training to teach operators how to serve alcohol to there customers, teaching them recent research to serve alcohol to the public and to have them remain victim of alcohol and share the burden caused by alcoholism as a disease?
A Ghana Alcohol Policy is long over due and is needed to start being felt in Africa as a continent. We do not need a strategic way of approaching our alcohol consumers, or a modern way to sell alcohol products, but an effective way towards controlling its consumption, sales, production, social impact,health impact and other related information. We need this to set life free in Ghana with more prosperity and well-being for people living in Ghana.
For further information:
Ghana’s premier beverage manufacturer, Accra Brewery Ltd. (ABL) has begun a “responsible” alcohol retailing training programme for retailers of its alcoholic products in the country. The first batch of 20 retailers, comprising alcohol bar operators, restaurant and retail shop owners in parts of Accra, has taken place at the company’s premises on the Graphic Road Accra