RUNDU – The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Rosalia Nghidinwa, is deeply worried about the level of alcohol consumption among Namibians. She is thus urging entrepreneurs to find other means of business that could be as lucrative as the sale of alcoholic beverages and suggests that as a start they rather focus on selling traditional drinks and food.
“As a health professional, I think we are drinking too much,” said Nghidinwa who is a qualified nurse, adding: “We need to take part in activities that boost our local economic development, not just drinking alcohol.”
Nghidinwa was addressing the opening of the annual Kavango Trade Fair in Rundu this week. “As we are all aware, all the big trucks bring beer to the northern part of the country day and night. Namibia with a mere population of 2.1 million people consumes more beer than South Africa that has a bigger population – that is a fact,” she said.
She also decried that besides the fact that about 90 percent of Namibians are Christians, they still continue to endlessly consume alcohol, which runs counter to religious and spiritual principles.
The minister is deeply concerned about the cheap and readily available alcoholic drinks and their effect on the youth who have now turned what was once a manageable leisure amongst the working class into a catalyst of social evils in the country.
“Let us consider establishing viable businesses rather than concentrate on alcohol outlets that has negative consequences and in the end destroy the nation,” said Nghidinwa.
According to the United Nations, every year the harmful use of alcohol kills 2.5 million people, including 320 000 young people between 15 and 29 years of age. It is the third leading risk factor for poor health globally, and harmful use of alcohol was responsible for almost 4 percent of all deaths in the world, according to the estimates for 2004.
By Mathias Haufiku