Govt to raise minimum legal drinking age

On 23 December 2019 at 03:27

The government of Rwanda has announced its plan to raise the minimum legal alcohol drinking age, from the current 18 years of age.

It says that the current laws do not help in solving the drinking problem that is high among the youth.

Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Nyirahabimana Solina said that the legal age might be lifted to between 20 to 25.

Nyirahabimana said that the consumption of alcoholic drinks among young people is increasing. She called all concerned people to fight this problem.

She said that the changes are still under debate but citizens will be informed once they culminate into law.

The manager of alcohol and drug use disorders at Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), Dynamo Ndacyayisenga said that in protecting young people from alcohol, it is necessary to think about the minimum legal drinking age.

He said that the human brain keeps developing until one turns 25, so drinking before this age retards it.

He said, “Raising the legal drinking age can help solve problems related to health, deaths, and diseases in families.”

According to a 2015 research by RBC, 1.6% of 200,000 Rwandans who are in the age range 14-64 faced effects of drinking alcohol, while 7.6% of Rwandans under 35 years of age are addicted to alcohol or faced a problem due to it.

In 2018, a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa called Rwanda to fight the rise in the use of alcohol, since it was listed second in the region in high consumption of alcohol.

Ndacyayisenga says that raising the minimum legal drinking age is not the only solution to the problem.

He said, “The Rwandan community, schools, local authorities, and churches need to help in fighting this problem. This problem is rooted in the way of thinking and the way of life of people, way beyond the capacity of laws.”

Emmanuelle Mahoro, a psychologist, said, “There is no good age for drinking alcohol, but at least above 20 years of age, the thinking and body of a person can manage alcohol’s impacts he might face.”

Gilbert Ndoli who owns a pub in Kigali says that most of his clients fall between ages 18 to 35, so in case the legal drinking age is raised, he risks to lose 20% of the clients.

However, he adds that raising the age will help protect young people from alcohol and drug use.

In 2018, a report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa called Rwanda to fight the rise in the use of alcohol