By Emmanuel Simpokolwe:
Minister of Industry and Trade, Salim Bagus, on Tuesday closed Beirut market and Restaurant in Lilongwe for operating without a tourism licence.
According to Bagus, the restaurant which is situated opposite Maula Parish also failed to comply with health and sanitation requirements.
This comes barely a week after the minister closed down Sana Food Court in his routine inspection exercise.
Bagus has since given the owners of the restaurant five days to improve the condition or risk being closed indefinitely.
“Once you don’t have a tourism license you don’t operate a restaurant business and I am wondering that he has been operating this business. We will make sure that we do these kinds of inspections to make sure that everyone is complying with our laws,” Bagus said.
He said there is need to revise fines for such offences as currently most of them are feeble which encourages the operators to disregard the law.
“If they are failing to comply with the laws this is the way to go, I closed one for three days and I have closed this one for a week and if it means closing it indefinitely, we will do it.” he said.
Manager of the restaurant, Youssef Nassour, said they were ignorant of the requirement to have a tourism licence to operate the business.
“When we opened the restaurant, we didn’t know about the licence from tourism we went to the city assembly and Malawi Bureau of Standards where we were given the licences,” Nassour said.