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Quayson Writes : Alcoholic Beverages in Ghana-Boozing trends

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Proverbs 31

Verse 6 : Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto them that be of heavy hearts

Verse 7 : Let him drink and forget his poverty and remember his misery no more.

It is quite sad how Ghana has become a safe haven for drunkards. I mean as a country classified as a third world, you would think that all efforts will be to strive to move from third to first world in our economic development yet the very machinery that the hope of any country’s development rest upon has found solace in the arms of alcohol – The youth of Ghana.

Alcohol has become a necessary evil in this country just as many women have become to men. You cannot live with them, neither can you live without them. Many alcoholic manufacturing companies have sprung up over the years in Ghana given employment to so many of our youth at the same time the alcohol they produce is employing our youth to drink. The list includes Baron Distilleries, Kasapreko Company Limited, Gihoc Distilleries, Guinness Ghana Limited, Accra Brewery Limited etc.

Most of these Companies pay huge taxes to the government which serves as a revenue base for the government. The sad part is these companies are very profitable and never default in tax payments. This is because Ghanaians have an inelastic demand for the consumption of alcohol in this country, an increase in price of alcohol as a result of increases in taxes, quantity demanded or consumed is less than proportionate and vice versa. Meaning when the price of alcohol should even rise to any length only a few people stop demanding it but if it rather falls by little in price you have a great number of people consuming it. A very worrying economic phenomenon indeed!

Because of the inelastic nature of alcoholic consumption in Ghana and the world over no matter how the government slaps huge excise duties on this alcoholic beverage companies, they are able to meet up. Infact they make more profits and pay government their taxes promptly. The various takeovers in the banking sector can never affect the alcoholic beverage industries because the industry has a very loyal customer base and there is no minimum capital requirements. There is no risk management issues or any corporate governance matters involved in the alcoholic industry. All we have is drinking and enjoyment galore, “let’s booze, drink and enjoy ourselves and forget our troubles, tomorrow we die” has become the slogan of the Ghanaian youth of today.

All the 20 Ghana Industrial Holding Company (GIHOC) that was variously established by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah from 1958 including shoe factories, pharmaceutical etc, all of them have collapsed with the exception of the Distilleries Company called Gihoc Distilleries. This tells you the unflinching support the Ghanaian public gives to the alcoholic beverages industry. The company is still growing stronger by the day as they even introduce new products unto the markets. We knew them for Castle Bridge, Kaiser Aromatic Schnapps etc but have now added Mandingo, Herb Afrik, Takai, Sorento etc. This really tells you that the industry is booming for producers.

Over the years we have seen the likes of Kasapreko Company also enter the scene with wonderful products like Alomo Bitters, Kasapreko Tonic wine, Gin etc. Guinness Ghana Limited also introducing Orijin among their already established beer brand which is Guinness and Malta Guinness. Accra Brewery have also faithfully produced Club beer for so many years in this country.

Some popular names of alcoholic drinks we have in this country is so much so that if we start, it will take us to the end of this article. My major concern now however is how Ghanaian youth have befriended alcohol. Gone were the days when we only saw very old men especially drinking alcohol and even so not so much in public. These days however, beer bars and drinking spots in this country are more than churches and mosques. Every corner in Ghana, you will find a drinking spot. Infact for someone to give you directions, the easiest way you can get to your location is for you to identify a very popular drinking spot in that area.

The question is who does these drinking spots serve? It is none other than the youth of Ghana. This includes both men and women. Alcohol is no more a shameful thing in this country as people drink it in public, both men and women. Our media space is no exception, it is filled with adverts of alcoholic beverages. I am typing this article Friday night at 8:24pm, even now in my bedroom I can hear the jingle of “Adonko Bitters” on Adom TV. Out of a random you will hear an advert for an alcoholic beverage on the TV or radio and this happens the whole day. I am sure by the end of this article another advert for alcohol will be played.

Alcohol has become an escape route for the youth of Ghana to escape all the economic hardship or what? So many people are drawn these days into drinking. After work, “boys boys” will gather around a table just to share bottles of beer and hard liquors. They retire home drunk and cause needless problems at home to their wives and children. Some will not bath or eat before retiring to bed. Apart from the fact that it is waste of money it has a lot of health complicated issues especially with the kidney, heart, brain, liver and intestines. Recently research has proven that no alcoholic beverage is good for consumption. If you don’t encounter the effect today, you sure will tomorrow.

Alcohol has killed so many of our youth in this country. Drivers who drink cause alot of accidents on our roads. Many have been rendered widows, widowers and orphans because of alcohol. Most of the accidents on our roads is due to alcohol. In the universities alcohol has taken over our campuses. These days if you don’t drink on campus it means you are not a hard guy. Women have also joined the men in drinking all over the place. Some women can even drink more than men. This has made the alcoholic beverage industry booming. I have lost so many friends to alcohol. Alcohol indeed is a social menace and needs to be controlled by the government of Ghana.

Food and Drugs Board must cut down on the number of alcoholic products been introduced on the market on daily basis. Bill boards, TV and radio adverts for alcohol must be reduced so the youth can concentrate on something productive in their lives. Churches and Mosques must preach vehemently against alcohol in this country. Strict rules and regulations must be introduced by government on most of this alcoholic companies. The media must intensify the education on dangers of alcohol.

From the opening scriptures, alcohol is for people who are ready to die and those who are poor or want to be poor. As a youth in Ghana, my question to you is, do you want to die? Do you want to be poor in life? If not, then say NO to alcohol now.

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