The National Consumers Council of Liberia (NCCL) has warned Liberian children to stay far from alcohol during the Christmas and the New Year seasons. The NCCL said its attention has been drawn to the continuous intake of alcoholic beverages by children despite the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s regulation, prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages to children.
The Council noted that the consumption of alcoholic beverages by young people is at its peak mainly during holidays, especially during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. “This situation is alarming and deserves immediate intervention,” it said.
Speaking to newsmen over the weekend, the Chairman of the National Consumers Council of Liberia Henry Wolokole, called all parents to take the first step in ensuring that their children do not drink alcohol. He said parents must be in full control of their children, knowing where they go, who they are with and what they do.
The NCCL boss noted that his group wants relevant agencies of government such as ministries of Commerce and Industry, Justice, Youth and Sports and Gender and Development, respectively to re-enforce and strengthen all regulations that forbid the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages by children.
“The Government must provide logistical support to these agencies to ensure effective re-enforcement and monitoring of the situation, especially during this holiday. All distributors and sellers of alcoholic beverages are likewise urged to follow governmental regulations and refuse to sell to anyone under age,” he noted.
Wolokole called on all distilleries, especially NICOM, RITCO, ISI and the Monrovia Breweries Inc., to ensure that their distributors and retailers desist from selling alcoholic beverages to children. Selling alcoholic beverages to children is a direct destructive social consequence of these distilleries corporate activities.
Commenting on the announcement by the government to suspend the inspection of businesses during this festive season, the NCCL called on all consumers to be very cautious and mindful when shopping for goods and services.
The suspension of business inspection, he said may lead to some businesses dumping harzardous, inferior and adulterated products on the market to the detriment of the consumers.
The NCCL therefore reminded customers to take necessary measure such as asking for receipts whenever they go to buy or act quickly if they have a complaint, among others. According to the Council, consumers are entitled to have a repair, replacement, or a refund if any goods purchased turned out to be faulty or wrongly described.
Mr. Wolokole encouraged the public to take any complaints to the Consumer Education and Protection Unit at the Ministry of Commerce & Industry or go to the office of the National Consumers Council of Liberia.