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President Robert Mugabe’s cabinet is making plans to introduce policy that will make drinking alcohol mandatory during certain times and days only, with a huge penalty involved upon breaching the new law. The idea of “command drinking” has irked many Zimbabweans.

The Fin24 reports alcoholic beverage companies Delta Corporation and African Distillers are set to either brace themselves for a fight with the government or face reduced sales amid plans to restrict alcohol consumption in the country.

According to The Sunday Mail, the Zimbabwean government’s new National Alcohol Policy is meant to curb sales of alcohol.

The policy proposes barring the sale of alcohol during the week, regulating hours of sale, and providing guidelines for the consumption of alcohol during special events like parties and weddings on the basis of the venue in which they are held.

The policy is said to be the brainchild of former Zimbabwe health minister Dr Timothy Stamps, who is now health adviser in the office of the president and cabinet.While Stamps argues that the policy will help maintain good health and protect the public against alcohol abuse, the move will have a negative impact on sales and demand for beverage companies if implemented.

It will also mean loss of government revenue from taxes on companies such as Delta, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest firms.

For the financial year ending March 31 2017, Delta paid $18.5m in corporate tax and $52.7m in excise duties and levies. The brewer also paid about $79m in Value Added Tax.

Downstream industries such as liquor shops and bars will also be affected by the policy if it is implemented as reported.

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