IMANI Courts gov’t to Adopt Alcohol Draft Policy

Monday, December 21, 2009 

Franklin CudjoePolicy and research think tank IMANI Ghana has urged government to as a matter of urgency consider the passage and implementation of the national draft policy on alcohol.

This is to check the increasing misuse of alcohol in the country, which has dire consequences not only for the individual but the society at large.

Executive Director of IMANI, Franklin Cudjoe, at a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, expressed regret over the seeming hypocrisy associated with issues of alcohol in the country, stressing the need for the industry to be regulated in conformity to international best practice.

“This draft National Alcohol Policy is based on recognizing alcohol’s place in Ghanaian society and on the recognition that Ghanaians wish to live in a society in which alcohol is available for adults who make an informed choice to drink in moderation.

"The implementation of a comprehensive and community endorsed National Alcohol Policy is essential, to ensure that alcohol is provided to the community with an appropriate level of regulation, and to protect those at most risk of harms associated with the misuse of alcohol,” he said.

The policy was drafted in broad consultation with stake holders, i.e. the Association of Alcohol Manufacturers and Importers (AAMI) in May, 2008, but failed to receive cabinet approval at a time the 2008 elections was at its fever pitch.

If adopted the policy will be of immense benefits to Ghanaians at two levels – the individual and societal.

On the individual level the policy among other things “aims to prevent underage drinking and offer protection from harm; encourage positive drinking patterns for those who have made a decision to drink and increase the understanding of the harms resulting from the misuse and the benefits of moderate drinking, provide reasonable access to legally produced alcohol.”

“At the societal level, the policy aims to change behavior by encouraging positive and discouraging negative patterns, creating an informed society, reduce harm due to alcohol misuse, decrease the cost of alcohol misuse to society,” Mr Cudjoe enumerated.

The policy in broad terms identifies six priority areas; “Intoxication, public safety and amenity, Health Impacts, Patterns and Availability, at risk populations and research.”


From left to right, Ali Traboulsi, Edwin Baffuor, Franklin Cudjoe, Chris Wulff-Ceasar

Representatives from Guinness Ghana Brewery Ltd, Accra Brewery Ltd, Cape Trading Company Ltd, Edwin Baffuor, Chris Wulff-Caesar and Ali Traboulsi respectively, who are members of AAMI, pledged their companies will adhere to international best practice in production, distribution, and advertisement of their brand.

Ali Traboulsi, MD for Cape Trading Company Ltd, however maintained government’s decision to increase duties on alcohol importation is counter productive.

According to him, the policy will increase cross border smuggling of alcohol products and reduce government’s own revenue.

He advocated for more pragmatic measures in dealing with abuse of alcohol in the country, saying the new policy could stifle business in the industry.

He warned the new taxes will backfire as it did two years ago when it was introduced.

In an answer to a suggestion by Amanor Bia, a researcher on women’s issues, the companies hoped to introduce new labels that will add pregnant women to the list of alcohol prohibitions.

See story with graphics here.