Kathmandu, November 30
The government’s plan to impose restrictive provisions on the liquor business and control their advertisements has drawn flak from various quarters.
A day after the advertisers publicly criticised the proposed executive order on Control of Production, Sale and Distribution of Alcohol that incorporates restrictive provisions on advertisements related to liquor businesses, hoteliers today said that attempts to curb liquor business will prove to be a bane for the hospitality industry.
Issuing a press statement today, Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) — the umbrella body representing tourist standard hotels in the country — said that setting time limitations on the sales of liquor is against business principles and will discourage investment in hospitality and tourism industry.
The draft of new executive order prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs incorporates restrictive provisions on branding and advertisement of alcoholic beverages and bans liquor companies from sponsoring any public events, including games. Moreover, the order prevents hotels, bars and restaurants from serving alcohol beverages before 5:00pm and after 10:00pm.
“Curbing any legally run business will not only deteriorate the business environment and affect industrial growth, such restrictive policies which are imposed without holding consultations with the private sector will have an adverse effect on the economy of the country,” said Amar Man Shakya, president of HAN.
Against the backdrop of Nepal planning to celebrate 2020 as tourism year to boost the country’s tourism, hoteliers have opined that concerned restrictive provisions in the proposed order on Control of Production, Sale and Distribution of Alcohol will prove to be a setback and impede growth of the tourism sector. They have also stated that it will hamper the aspirations of the ‘Visit Nepal 2020’ tourism campaign.
Urging the government to reconsider its plan to curb liquor sales and advertisements of liquor products, Shakya urged the government to sit down with the private sector to discuss on necessary measures that need to be taken to promote the country’s tourism industry.
Earlier on Wednesday, Advertising Association of Nepal (AAN) had condemned the restrictive provisions on branding of alcoholic beverages stating that policies to clamp down on products of those liquor factories which have been established as per the existing laws and have been complying with all legal standards is completely illogical.
Meanwhile, Minister for Communications and Information Technology Gokul Prasad Baskota, on Thursday, informed that the government will soon invite stakeholders of the liquor industry to discuss the contents of the draft of the controversial executive order.
A version of this article appears in print on December 01, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.