Government moves to regularize alcohol

Anyone over the age of 21 will be allowed to apply for a drinking permit

The government has issued fresh rules with the aim of regularizing the sale and consumption of alcohol across the country.

Under the new rules, hotels, restaurants, and outlets that serve food as well as display and sell alcohol will be allowed to apply for liquor sale licences. Clubs and organizations that have a certain number of members with drinking permits can also apply for the licences.

Anyone over the age of 21 will be allowed to apply for a drinking permit. Muslims over the age of 21 must get a prescription from a doctor with a minimum rank of associate professor.

Members of ethnic groups, such as those in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and other areas, will also need drinking permits to purchase alcohol.

Brewing alcohol at home is banned under the new rules. The adulteration of alcohol is also prohibited.

The Security Services Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs issued the Alcohol Control Rules 2022 under the Narcotics Control Act 2018 on February 5.

When contacted, Department of Narcotics Control Additional Director General Azizul Islam told Dhaka Tribune the new rules were currently being examined and they may be reviewed if any loopholes were found.

“Previously, we did not have any specific rules on alcohol use. These rules will help the government to control alcohol consumption,” he added.

Hotels, restaurants and other places that serve food and alcohol will be allowed to apply for licences to sell liquor, according to the rules.

Clubs and organizations that have at least 100 members with drink permits can also apply for liquor licences. Those with more than 200 members with drinking permits can also apply for a licence to set up a bar.

Bars can also be set up at EPZs, theme parks, or government development projects where foreign nationals work. 

The number of bars that can be set up in a certain area will be limited depending on the establishment. For example, two-star hotels can get a licence for one bar, three-star hotels for two bars, four-star hotels for three bars, and five-star hotels for more than seven bars.

Brand registration is compulsory for the sale of imported liquor. Alcohol can be imported from any country that has trade relations with Bangladesh to supply liquor.

Alcohol can be transported by rail, road, sea, and air by those who have permits, but it also requires a carrying pass.

Beer cannot be produced without following the procedure prescribed by the government.

Ethyl alcohol, Absolute alcohol, rectified spirits, Strong alcohol, and industrial methylated spirits which are not produced in Bangladesh and alcohol used in industrial, laboratory and allopathic medicine production can be imported. However, no one can import any alcohol without the approval of the Bangladesh Tourism Corporation or the government.

Clubs that have 200 or more members with alcohol permits will be able to import 40% of their demand.