SOE, tax boost homebrew trade


THE increase in tax excise on alcohol products, coupled with the recent state of emergency (SOE) restrictions, have seen an increase in illicit alcohol or homebrew trade and consumption, according to the PNG Manufacturers Council.
Chief executive Chey Scovell said the trade in illicit products remained a challenge for the council.
“As you know, a major struggle for the council has been dealing with illicit and illegal trade, which is not all about imported goods,” he told The National.
“Illicit alcohol, already a significant problem, appears to have ramped up to an alarming level.
“We know that liquor bans and increased excises always increases the output of illicit alcohol, and throughout this pandemic, we have seen both.
“Before the outbreak, the State added a one-off 10 per cent increase. This saw an immediate reduction in legitimate sales, since then we’ve seen another price increase.
“These increases with heavy trade restrictions on legal sales has had a huge impact on legitimate alcohol manufacturers.
“With regards to our Government’s continued management of the Covid-19, the manufacturing sector has continued to benefit from its good workplace practices in which almost all of our membership train staff on good health and hygiene practices.”
Scovell said the council acknowledged the confusion in the period between the ending of the SOE
and operation of the new Pandemic Act.
He said thankfully, the council’s members most impacted such as hotels, clubs, cafes and restaurants were allowed to operate.
“PNG has been very fortunate to have thus far avoided community transmission of this virus, and this is witnessed generally by the behaviour of our people,” he said.
“Unlike our neighbouring countries people still stand close to you at the supermarket.
“We’re not seeing much of an effort on maintaining social distancing in the work or social space.”