The Minister of Tourism and Cultural Heritage in the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government has stepped down following an alcohol shortage in the country that caused beer prices to surge by almost 100%.
While officially cited as due to “poor working conditions”, the resignation of Simai Mohamed Said is speculated to be linked to his discontent with the government’s handling of the alcohol shortage, particularly as Said had publicly criticised the Zanzibar Liquor Control Board (ZLCB) after a severe alcohol shortage began affecting tourism in recent days.
The lack of readily available alcohol, particularly beer, is a major concern for tourist satisfaction. It has resulted in tour operators, including bars and hotels along the Matemwa beaches in the north of Zanzibar, serving soft drinks.
The shortage began at the beginning of this year when the ZLCB did not renew the permits of three large importers that had been importing alcohol to the island for over 20 years. Permits were instead granted to new companies that have been unable to keep up with the alcohol demand.
The price of beer has now risen to 5 000 shillings (€1.81), from 2 500 shillings (€0.90). Frank John Kahamu, Secretary at the Amani Alcohol Merchants Union, told The Citizen in Tanzania that more than 3 000 workers could lose their jobs because “we can’t keep paying wages with empty shelves”.