Under the latest Covid-19 regulations, liquor stores are allowed to operate at full capacity from 9 am to 7 pm with restricted quantities per person. A person is allowed to purchase a maximum of one and a half cases for one to 10 percent alcohol content and 6 liters for 11 to 20 percent alcohol content and one liter for above 21 percent alcohol content.
The decision comes at the time when the MMB and local liquor businesses were complaining and calling for the reopening of their facilities.
They also argued that their businesses were being threatened by the illegal trade of alcohol which had been taking place since the ban was imposed. Illegal operators were selling at ridiculously high prices, taking advantage of the high demand.
But thanks to the latest developments, the industry has now been allowed to operate at full capacity in line with the risk determination and mitigating measures for social activities set by the government.
“We believe that opening up the economy and moving the country to the purple level is an important move for our economy. Lifting of the prohibition on the sale of alcohol has come as a welcome relief for our business and industry, and the thousands of livelihoods who depend on us.
“We fully understand that the situation requires vigilance and adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, and we want to reassure our partners in government that we remain committed to supporting the national effort to curb the spread of this virus. We acknowledge and appreciate the balancing act,” MMB country corporate affairs manager, ’Mathabang Fanyane said on Tuesday.
To ensure safety measures as prescribed by the authorities as well as keeping its commitment to working with the government to prevent the spread, MMB will be supporting 1 200 registered liquor outlets with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face shields, face masks, sanitizers, gloves, floor stickers, and COVID-19 educational posters.
“Almost 25 000 livelihoods depend on the alcohol industry’s value chain. MMB as one of Lesotho’s largest corporate citizens and economic engine drivers, we are looking forward to reinitiating the process of job creation and responsible growth for the industry, with the ultimate objective of returning confidence to ensure sustainability for all these livelihoods,” Fanyane added.
She emphasized that MMB wants to play a leading role in this economic re-set and to proactively drive the acceleration of the nation’s capability through planned localization of production and local procurement interventions which are essential components to job creation.
A few weeks ago, MMB declared that the company was facing a serious structural decline in output capacity as a result of countrywide restrictions that had prohibited the sale of and consumption of MMB products.
The company was on the verge of canceling capital investments worth M70 million which were targeted at increasing the company’s brewing capacity as well as depot expansion.
The company was stuck with M127 million worth of beer in its brewing house and depots that were supposed to be decanted if the ban continued. Furthermore, during the ban, the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) was losing M45 million in monthly taxes from MMB each time alcohol sales restrictions were put in place.