We have a drinking problem.
We reportedly consume 7.5 liters of alcohol per person per year. Much of that is served in the more than 3,000 licensed bars that we have. That works out to one bar for every 250 people. And that does not take into consideration the large-scale production, sale and consumption of home brewed alcohol throughout our country.
That’s why alcohol abuse is a leading cause of non-communicable diseases. That’s why alcohol-related diseases make up a whopping 27% of all hospital inpatients. That’s why they account for a staggering 58% of all inpatient mortality. That’s why alcohol was the top killer in 2010.
We have a drinking problem. And the government realizes it. So in order to discourage the habit, they recently increased taxes on alcohol.
Total taxes on beer produced domestically or imported from India have doubled from 50% to 100%
And total taxes on beer imported from other countries have increased from 150% to 200%
The increases in beer prices will, no doubt, discourage us from drinking beer. But that, ironically, may encourage us to drink more locally produced hard liquor.
Why? Because taxes on the more popular locally produced liquors have not gone up proportionately. In fact, taxes on Special Courier, Black Mountain Whisky and Changta Whisky have not increased at all – not even by 1%. And taxes on Rock Bee Brandy and Sonfy Liquor have only marginally increased by 10% and 15% respectively.
So expect our people to drink less beer, a beverage that generally has less than 6% of alcohol by volume. And expect our people to drink more whisky, brandy and Sonfy all of which typically contain about 40% of alcohol.
We have a drinking problem. And it’s about to get worse.