The Ministry of Home Affairs in Bangladesh has introduced new Alcohol Control Rules 2022 to ensure discipline in the sale, marketing, import-export, storage, production, processing, and consumption of alcohol. The rules have been set to effectively implement the Narcotics Control Law 2018.
A breakdown of the new alcohol rules in Bangladesh
Notable changes in the laws:
- Introduction of a minimum age of 21 years for alcohol sales. Previously Bangladesh did not have a legal minimum age for alcohol sales.
- License, permit, and renewal fees for alcohol have been increased.
- All alcoholic product bottles must carry a health warning label.
- Alcohol permit holders or license holders are not allowed to show alcohol products to other persons for commercial or other purposes to attract people.
- The rules have specified new opening and closure times of bars and liquor selling shops.
Other changes to the alcohol laws:
- Official permit needed for consumption and use of alcohol products.
- Sellers can sell a maximum of three units of alcohol to permitted holders at one time and a maximum of seven units for one month with some exceptions.
- Authorities can issue licenses to sell alcohol in an area if there are 100 local or foreign liquor permit holders.
- A pass is needed for carrying and transportation of alcohol products.
- Import-export, production, processing, supply, marketing, sale, purchase, storage, and containing alcohol would require licenses.
- Bars, off-trade shops, on-trade shops, and local liquor shops must be closed on Fridays, Muharram, Shab-e-Baraat, Eid-e-Miladunnabi, Shab-e-Kadar, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha and other government declared holidays.
- Conditions have been set for establishing bars in hotels, restaurants, and clubs – having at least 200 permit holder members, export processing zones, theme parks, and the government’s development projects – where foreign nationals reside.
- Foreign remittance earner duty-free shops can import alcohol.
- Restaurants, hotels, clubs, or bars can procure 40% of required alcohol from Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation by paying duty taxes at regular rates or through import. The other 60% is to be collected from local sources.
- Clubs having more than 200 permit holder members can import the highest 40% of foreign liquor. The remaining 60% is to be procured from local sources.
Alcohol harm in Bangladesh
As the World Health Organization reports, Bangladesh has almost zero alcohol consumption. Over 90% of the population live alcohol-free. As a result, the country has relatively low alcohol harm and is on the lowest end for years of life lost due to alcohol.
However, over a third (41.5%) of Bangladeshi youth between 15 to 19 years who do consume alcohol engage in binge alcohol use. In 2016, Bangladesh recorded over 3000 deaths due to alcohol.
The new rules by the Ministry of Home Affairs have specifically addressed existing flaws in the alcohol laws, such as the minimum legal age which did not previously exist. Md Masud Hossain, Deputy Director of the Department of Narcotics Control said inconsistencies in the Hill Tracts law and alcohol policy had been corrected through the new rules.