Durban – The DA has taken a swipe at Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies on the Liquor Amendment Bill, saying he was irresponsible for not undertaking an economic impact study on the bill.

This comes after a senior Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) official responded to DA MP Dean Macpherson’s request for records of the study, known as socio-economic impact assessment systems (Seias), with a signed affidavit.

Macpherson made the request last December in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. It was two months after Davies had released the bill for public comment until December 15.

In his affidavit, the department’s deputy information officer Gerhard Calitz said the study into the bill would be conducted when the public comments were considered and then a revised bill was drafted for introduction to Parliament.

“To the best of my knowledge and belief, the DTI does not have the requested documents or any other document except as indicated above,” Calitz said.

On Sunday Macpherson found it surprising that there was no study into the bill, despite Davies’s intention to submit the bill to the cabinet before March.

“It is incredibly irresponsible for Minister Davies to have introduced this bill without a proper socio-economic assessment study being done first," he said.

“For far too long, the department and Minister Davies have failed to produce evidence and studies to back up their bill,” he said.

The government, through the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, requires departments to undertake a study on the costs of their regulations and the impact on the economy.

A memorandum sent to the cabinet seeking approval for draft policies, bills or regulations has to include the required study signed off by the Seias unit in the Department of Monitoring.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe last year said the economic study helped the government examine and mitigate the unintended consequences of new and existing legislation and regulations.

Macpherson said the public had a right to know what the Liquor Amendment Bill would cost the economy and the impact it would have on job creation and sustainability.

The Mercury