Visits Industries Limited, one of the local food and beverage manufacturers in the crosshair of the government in its move to curb the high alcohol percentage level and control the manufacturing of alcohol and its sale, has come out to say that its operations are not in breach of any laws and regulations governing alcohol in the country.
Vitis Industries Managing Director Mrs. Vikki Mosinne, asked why the government is singling them out in this matter when all the company was doing is manufacturing alcohol and other products in line with all the regulations, including in accordance with the food and sanitation guidelines.
She said recent media reports stating the claims made by the government that the company’s products are cheap and consumed mostly by youths and are responsible for social issues in the community, is hurting their operation.
“These negative reports are discriminating and damaging our company’s reputation and affecting our business,” she said.
In a press conference at the Vitis Industries head office in Port Moresby yesterday, Mrs. Mossine said all their products are developed and produced in the factory laboratory, certified, and approved by relevant government authorities then go for test at the National Analysis Laboratory (NAL) in Lae city.
“This is to confirm the content of the alcohol strength on our product level packaging are correct in terms of standards before we sell them on the market, meaning that our food and beverages production factory is qualified and guaranteed to safely manufacture products,” said Managing Director.
She added that they don’t sell their products on the market prior to approval and certification from relevant government authorities, which include the Independent Consumer and Competitions Commission (ICCC), PNG Customs and the National Department of Health through the accredited laboratory, the NAL.
“The products we manufacture are safe for consumers and consumption because our company employs experts, both expatriates and qualified Papua New Guineans to test and manufacture our products if you are questioning the integrity of our company,” she said.
“We are only a manufacture or producer; we distribute and supply our products through licensed distributors, wholesalers and trade stores on the factory prices that are recommended. The store owners and managers then sell on the recommended prices.
“All our alcohol products are priced as per our production cost per bottle after the government tax base rate imposed on the alcohol.”
But she said the high tax imposed by the government on alcohol, has also seen increased prices of the products.
Meanwhile, a Special Parliamentary Committee on Alcohol- related Violence led by the Member for Goroka Aiye Tambua as Chairman, has announced yesterday its planning to push to make some changes to the laws and regulations governing alcohol manufacturing and sales in the country to deter the abuse of alcohol in the community and have some control over alcohol production by producers.
The Committee will be having consultations with manufacturers, groups, stakeholders, and government departments on the matter and will be sending out invitations for it.
The consultations are aimed at getting opinions and suggestions to come up with recommendations for the government to consider and possibly make changes legislations to control alcohol manufacturing and sales in the country going forward. The Committee is looking at holding these planned consultations and wrap them up before the start of the 2022 National Elections starts.