File picture: Eric Risberg

Johannesburg - The government has kept its study on the economic impact on the Liquor Amendment Bill under wraps as those opposed to it clamour for more answers.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said yesterday in a written Parliamentary reply that more studies could be conducted on the bill.

Opposition parties have raised questions about the bill saying some of its proposals will be difficult to implement.

Davies said this was an important bill that would address some of the challenges on alcohol abuse.

“A socio-economic impact assessment was conducted on the final Liquor Policy and approved by Cabinet on September 14, 2016,” said Davies.

“The socio-economic impact assessment report was submitted to the cabinet secretariat.”

He said the bill was published for public comment as part of the consultation process that would end at the end of the month.

But the department would determine if it would conduct another socio-economic impact assessment on the bill.

This would happen if there was a need to do so.

Opposition parties have already alluded to potential job losses in the liquor industry and other downstream industries if the bill is implemented.

When the bill was introduced in Parliament two years ago the industry and broadcast organisations warned of serious decline of revenues in advertising.

In the current version of the bill a restriction of advertising of alcohol on TV and other platforms is proposed.

The government also wants to hold liable manufacturers for selling liquor to unlicensed shebeens and pubs where drunk patrons commit offences.

Parties in the National Assembly said it would be difficult to monitor this.

Davies has not indicated how soon the government will make public the study on the socio-economic impact of the bill.