An investigation into factors contributing to the failure of the alcohol levy to reduce alcohol abuse in Botswana
Motlaleng, Callaghan Moloko
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The study deals with the postulated effect of the introduction of an alcohol levy in Botswana. The idea behind the introduction of an alcohol levy is to increase the pricing structure of alcohol as one way of trying to curb the social ills associated with excessive consumption of alcohol. The subject of an alcohol levy as a means to manage alcohol consumption has never been short of controversy the world over. A number of public discourses and debates in many different countries have been held but it remains a subject with no common consensus. Studies conducted by different scholars have not yielded conclusions that are in harmony. While the alcohol industry has been one of the fastest growing industries in the world, it has always been subjected to criticism in the sense that it is considered to grow at the expense of a breakdown of the social fabric of our societies. It is against this backdrop that Botswana was used as a case in hand. More often governments have resorted to imposing taxes in the form of excise duties and levies with a mandate of instilling a particular behaviour among people in their societies. The results of literature, however, are mixed in this regard as some are for these taxes while some are against them. A qualitative and quantitative study was undertaken to measure the level of understanding of the imposition of an alcohol levy in Botswana and to determine the level of success achieved through this. At the current rate, the alcohol levy seems not to be making much difference in the society's welfare as was anticipated at its inception. It remains to be seen what formula would bring about the desired results of low and responsible alcohol intake among consumers. At present, revenues are collected from both the levy and excise duties, but the future is not promising as far as social ills and abuse are concerned.