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Tanzania’s booze drought: beer prices in Zanzibar soar

Tourist hotels and bars on Tanzania’s archipelago have been forced to serve just soft drinks as supply chain disruptions continue to cause an alcohol shortage.

Tanzania's booze drought: beer prices in Zanzibar soar

Zanzibar is facing a shortage of alcohol, with beer prices soaring by almost 100% due to scarcity.

Zanzibar’s population is majority Muslim, and the local manufacture of alcohol is banned in Tanzania’s archipelago. Most of the alcohol sold on the islands comes either from the mainland or is imported from South Africa.

According to a BBC report, the initial shortage came earlier this year, triggered by the Zanzibar Liquor Control Board (ZLCB) delaying licensing permits for its three established importers.

These importers — One Stop, Scotch Store, and ZMMI — have supplied alcohol to the islands for over 20 years.

In January, the ZLCB also granted licences to three new companies — Kifaru, Bevko and Zanzi Imports. However, the issue is yet to be resolved, as the new firms are caught up in a lengthy vetting process.

Only Zanzibari-born residents with a clean tax record, a warehouse and a delivery van are permitted to get an alcohol licence. There have been claims that some non-Zanzibaris are involved in the operations of the companies in contravention of the law.

Additionally, importers must also pay a $12,000 (£10,000) annual fee to the regulatory board.

The three previous importers have also filed appeals to request a renewal of their liquor import permits from the state.

Tourism generates about 90% of the Tanzanian archipelago’s foreign revenue, according to the BBC. A shortage of alcohol could have a grave impact on foreign visitors.

Hotels along the Matemwa beaches, situated in the north of the archipelago’s main island, are forced to serve only soft drinks. People in the area claim they are having to go to Stone Town, the main city, to find alcohol.

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