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How Dry I Am!

Government Promises Answer to Calls for Resolution to Current Shortage of Wine and Spirits in Bali.

(9/1/2007) As reported on balidiscovery.com [See: The Pub with No Booze ], a shake-up in the Customs and Excise Department has caused a shortage in imported alcoholic beverages at Bali hotels, restaurants and nightspots.

According to Tjokorda Oka Artha, Chairman of the Bali branch of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI), quoted in the Indonesian language NusaBali: "For two months now, alcoholic beverages in Bali have become scarce. In the market place no alcohol is available and at many establishments there is no stock. Because of this, the PHRI is coordinating with various parties to find a solution to the problem."

Tjokorda went on to explain: "We have presented this problem to the Minister of Trade and Industry and to the Minister of Tourism. We expect that by September 7th we will have their answer and solution to this problem."

Because alcoholic beverages and tourism are linked, the PHRI Chief explained, if the current shortage is not overcome soon tourist may decide not to visit Bali or bring their own beverages causing losses in tax revenues.

The Bali Head of the Department of Trade and Industry, Ketut Wijaya, confirmed that the problem of vanishing alcoholic beverage supplies was the topic of a meeting in Bali on August 22 between the relevant government agencies and members of the tourism industry. The recommendations of that meeting have been forwarded to the Central Government in Jakarta, including the suggestion that an official importer of alcoholic beverages be appointed for Bali where, in the past, the island has been dependent on two Jakarta-based importers.

The current shortage in alcohol supplies comes at a time when Bali is experiencing an unprecedented demand for liquor, estimated to total 334,400 bottles over the past six months with the following breakdown:

Imported Beer 146,120 bottles

Champagne 9,020 bottles

Sparkling wine 4,520 bottles

Red wine 46,110 bottles

White wine 64,630 bottles

Spirits 64,000 bottles

According to Nusa Bali, Bali collected Rp. 8.7 billion (approximately US$945,000) in tax revenues from the sale of imported alcohol in 2006. Through the end of August 2007, an estimated Rp.7.805 billion (approximately US$848,000) in imported alcohol taxes have been collected.