I will Support Legislation to Regulate Alcohol Consumption in Ghana – Hon. Yaw Boamah
“The data that I saw on alcohol consumption in Ghana looks very scary and I believe something must be done about it as fast as possible, I am committed to any legislation to regulate alcohol consumption in Ghana any day”
Vice Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee, Patrick Yaw Boamah, has indicated his commitment to any legislative instrument that will regulate alcohol consumption in Ghana. The Member of Parliament (MP) for the OkaiKoi Central Constituency in the Greater Accra Region explained that the data on alcohol consumption presented to him by the Ghana Non Communicable Disease Alliance (GhNCDA) looks scary and deserves a critical attention from all stakeholders.
Hon. Yaw Boamah made the remarks during an engagement with members of the GhNCDA when the group paid a courtesy call on him in his office on Monday, October 17, 2022, to court his support for a legislative instrument that seeks to give legal backing to administrative directives and guidelines in regulating alcohol use in Ghana. The alliance is also seeking the MPs support for an alcohol taxation measure to be implemented as specific tax alongside non/tax price measures to help control the consumption of alcohol in the country.
The Legislator explained that the data from the fact sheet on Alcohol Consumption in Ghana presented to him looks very scary and needs all hands on deck to remedy the situation to prevent avoidable deaths and sicknesses among the citizenry.
“The data that I saw on alcohol consumption in Ghana looks very scary and I believe something must be done about it as fast as possible, I am committed to any legislation to regulate alcohol consumption in Ghana any day,” he noted.
Chairman of the Media Alliance in Tobacco Control and Health (MATCOH), Jeorge Wilson Kingson, who led the delegation from the GhNCDA expressed satisfaction with the commitment of the Deputy Chairman of the finance Committee of parliament. He noted among pothers that, various Civil Society Organizations under the GhNCDA expects him to add his voice to the call to regulate and tax alcohol to reduce its consumption which is causing more harm than good to the ordinary Ghanaian when the document comes up for consideration at the committee level in parliament.
Kingson further assured the MP of the availability of the alliance for further deliberations on the details of the regulations leading to its laying in parliament.
“We are very grateful to you for your time and commitment to make sure this legislation comes to being to curtail diseases and deaths from alcohol consumption” he concluded.
According to the fact sheet on Alcohol Consumption in Ghana, 9.4 % of Ghanaians above 15years engage in heavy episode drinking and 4.1% of Ghanaian above 15 years have alcohol disorder, while 7.3% increase in men.
The fact sheet also pointed out that, 40% of sampled Ghanaians are ignorant of the health consequences of alcohol consumption and that 72% of Ghanaians surveyed are unaware of any social support for alcoholics in the country.
The Alliance has therefore recommended that, as a matter of urgency, government should finalize and adopt a legislative instrument that will provide legal backing to various administrative directives and guidance in regulating alcohol in Ghana. The alliance further called on the government to ensure an effective implementation and enforcement of a National Alcohol Policy (NAP) to help Ghana’s rating on the World Health Organization standards and conventions on alcohol.
They have also suggested to the government to implement an alcohol taxation measures as specific tax and implementation alongside non tax/price measures using a multi-sectoral approach involving all the relevant stakeholders and that the revenue from alcohol taxes should be earmarked to finance health care and preventive programmes aimed at reducing substance abuse and its related harms.
The Alliance is of the firm view that, should all stakeholders including Departments, Agencies, Ministries and Civil Society organizations play their roles adequately in relation to the recommendations, the country can effectively deal with the harm associated with alcohol consumption in the Ghana.
By Derick Botsyoe || ghananewsonline.com.gh