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Murree Brewery To Begin Producing Affordable Hand Sanitizers, Hope For Authorities’ Cooperation

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The CEO of Murree Brewery Co. Isphanyar M. Bhandara has recommended that the production of hand sanitizers be made the purview of the Health Department rather than the Excise & Taxation Department. Speaking to Naya Daur about Murree Brewery’s move to manufacturing hand sanitizers, Bhandara also suggested that the permission to manufacture hand sanitizers be extended beyond the current cut-off date of 30 June.

The limited window offered to manufacturers currently makes it difficult for them to invest heavily in the production of hand sanitizers, knowing that it is only for three months. In Bhandara’s view, it leaves manufacturers vulnerable to any policy change from the authorities after that date.

In his view, the Excise and Taxation authorities are generally rigid on regulating any alcohol-related products. When applied to hand sanitizers, this becomes a hindrance to mass production. “Making hand sanitizers is not rocket science: around 70% of it is ethanol. Beyond that you need glycerin and hydrogen peroxide.”

Bhandara spoke about the well-known company’s hopes to significantly expand hand sanitizer production in Pakistan and make them more affordable for ordinary people. He hopes for authorities to facilitate manufacturers in this process.

“People will need to wash and clean even after this Coronavirus crisis. People are now more aware of the use of hand sanitizers here” he noted.

He also mentioned overpricing of products by some manufacturers at the moment.

According to Bhandara, in around 10 days, Murree Brewery will begin production of hand sanitizers as its new machinery and infrastructure for that purpose becomes available for use. “We want to do our part to help the country at this time” he emphasized. The iconic Brewery’s usual production of alcoholic beverages remains suspended as part of the Coronavirus lockdown measures.

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The Excise & Taxation Department of the Government of Punjab has so far granted licenses to manufacture hand sanitizers to 16 local and multinational enterprises on an emergency basis.

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