National 17.2.2017 02:13 pm

DTI dismisses DA’s complaints about Booze Bill

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Government says it has engaged with stakeholders as comprehensively as possible over its proposed changes to liquor laws.

In a statement on Friday the department of trade and industry (the dti) came out to defend its controversial proposed changes to liquor laws contained in the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill.

The new laws have been criticised for the impact they may have on big business, with changes proposed to, among other things, the legal drinking age and placing curbs on how liquor products can be advertised, similar to that implemented for cigarettes.

Democratic Alliance MP Dean McPherson reportedly claimed that a socio-economic assessment study on the bill has not been completed, but the dti has rejected this as false.

“In fact, in terms of government convention, a socio-economic assessment was done on the Liquor Policy,” said spokesperson Sidwell Medupe in a statement.

“Subsequent to Cabinet approval of the Liquor Policy the Draft Liquor Amendment Bill was released for public comment and the deadline extended several times to allow for the most comprehensive stakeholder engagement possible. The final deadline for submissions was 15 December 2016.”

Medupe added that much could still change before any new legislation could be put in place.

“The department is currently reviewing the comments received, which may impact on the final outcome. The Bill, which will take account of stakeholder consultations, will then be submitted to Cabinet for introduction to Parliament.

“These processes necessitate a socio-economic assessment study on the Bill which will be conducted during the Cabinet process, as a matter of course.”

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