By Kebba Ansu Manneh
Alcohol Policy Alliance Gambia (APA) has welcomed new measures to be introduced by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to curb the use and sales of Alcohol in the country.
In a communique shared with the public last week, the Ministry of Interior announced that the Gambia Police Force will soon begin an interception exercise to arrest and prosecute shopkeepers, and supermarket owners, including households who are involved in selling alcohol without licenses to minors.
MoI urged unlicensed alcohol vendors to stop selling the intoxicating beverage to minors and called on all liquor sellers to demand Identification Cards (IDs) for age verification before selling.
In welcoming the new measures APA-Gambia outlined that the move is in line with WHO SAFER MODELS, referred to as the WHO BEST BUYS, for countries to adopt and implement to reduce the harmful reduction of Alcohol use.
Speaking to The Voice Newspaper in an exclusive interview, Chairman APA-Gambia, AlagieJanneh observed that the move is long overdue judging by the negative effects of alcohol in the country, the move will also go a long way in mitigating the menace of alcohol on minors who are vulnerably indulged into the use and sell of the harmful liquor.
According to him, the new measures will strengthen restrictions on Alcohol availability; advance enforces drunken driving countermeasures, and facilitates access to screening brief interventions and treatment, adding that it will help to raise prices on alcohol through excise taxes and pricing policies as well as enforcing bans or comprehensive restrictions on alcohol promotion, sponsorship, and advertising.
” Controlling age limits, license, illicit trade of alcohol, drunk driving countermeasures, and raising taxes on alcohol, will address the use of alcohol and also reduce non-communicable diseases (NCDS) related issues, like cancer, and cardiovascular diseases, whereby to reduce health costs, domestic violence, minimizes accidents increase GDP, above all increases life expectancy,” Chairman, APA-Gambia, Alagie Janneh pointed out.
He called on the Government to immediately to start applying these restrictions if possible introduce more of such restrictions to help save the country.
He further called on the government to insert more effort into mitigating the use and sale of alcohol in the country, as alcohol is causing more harm than good to our society.