Zambian Breweries and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to curb alcohol and drug abuse.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Lusaka , which was also attended by DEC Deputy Commissioner Kelvin Silwimba, Zambian Breweries Country Director Jose Moran said, the cooperation between the two institutions will present opportunities to combine the strengths of both parties through their footprint and outreach into smallholders markets, and cement a solid commercial and regulatory relationship.
He said the MOU was in line with Zambian Breweries’ Responsible Alcohol Policy on alcohol abuse and prohibition of underage drinking.
Mr. Moran noted that the MOU would also help reduce the sale of potent and harmful tujilijili and junta sold at prices as low as K5, especially to under age youths
“Alcohol abuse and underage drinking remain prominent in our communities. Here at Zambian Breweries, we believe in bringing people together for better communities. This is why I’m happy we have created a partnership with the Commission to fight alcohol abuse especially among the youths,” he said.
And Corporate Affairs Director Ezekiel Sekele said, the MOU will see the company develop strategies to promote responsible consumption of alcoholic beverages, youth sensitisation and discouraging youths from underage drinking.
He added that the move underlines Zambian Breweries’ support of the National Alcohol Policy and its responsibility as a brewer.
“Zambian Breweries highly values partnerships and strategies aimed at lessening the harmful use of alcohol, especially among the youth. We will continue educating and sensitising the youths on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse,” said Mr. Sekele.
And DEC Commissioner Alita Mbahwe, in a speech read on her behalf by DEC Deputy Commissioner, said she was delighted that Zambian Breweries was committed to curbing illicit alcohol abuse and agreed the MOU was a step in the right direction.
She further noted that the interaction was in line with the model in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) to move away from a stand alone thematic approach to addressing national issues towards an integrated multi-sectoral approach.
DEC Commissioner added that the MOU will support initiatives and partnerships aimed at curbing the vice and that other corporate entities must support Zambia Breweries’ noble cause.
She also said signing ceremony has come at an opportune time, as there has been an increase in cases of mental health issues between the ages of 12 and 35 years attributed to alcohol abuse.
“I am delighted that we will work hand-in-hand with Zambian Breweries in creating awareness and sensitisation programmes, knowledge management and reporting purposes as well as feedback arising from monitoring and evaluation of field activities,” she said.