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NGOs taxes from alcohol companies to fight underage drinking

By Philippa Kabiito

Added 21st October 2016 12:00 AM

Nile Breweries and Uganda Breweries are among the top five tax payers

Nile Breweries and Uganda Breweries are among the top five tax payers

Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL) a non-government organization advocating for the regulation of alcohol consumption has asked government to set aside 15% of the total revenues collected from alcohol companies to be used in preventing consumption of alcohol among the youth.

The money will be used to for rehabilitation, awareness creation of the dangers of alcohol among children in addition to implementing the proposed bill now in Parliament once it becomes a law.

The call was made by the executive director of UYDEL, in a meeting to share the outcomes of their research and proposed community interventions that could prevent alcohol related harms among the young people.

Nile Breweries and Uganda Breweries are among the top five tax payers.

It is estimated that Nile Breweries pays about sh197,934,390,207 while Uganda Breweries pays about sh131,009,038,978 in taxes annually.

"That is a huge amount which is not being collected as punishment for selling alcohol but as major source of income. But government forgets that this money is not even protecting the most vulnerable people in society when it comes to alcohol consumption like children," said Kasirye.

He added that that is an obstacle to all efforts geared at preventing the consumption of alcohol which has adverse effects on people around those who will have abused alcohol.

"It's an obstacle because government is getting money from people sinning through consumption of alcohol who go back home and rape children, beat their wives, drive recklessly leading to accidents, and are even refusing to pay school fees for the children if they survive other abuses," he added.

According to Kasirye, the bill that is being spearheaded by Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze is timely. The Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2016 it   intends to protect Ugandans from abusing alcohol and not to ban the consumption of alcohol.  

The bill is looking at increasing taxes on alcohol; setting up an alcohol control board that will help implement regulations of alcohol consumption, assess adverts and areas where they are placed not near schools or children's play areas among others.

However for the law to be implemented once passed by parliament there will be a challenge of funding that is why the 15% comes in to help, he added.

With such money, enforcement will be rolled over to districts and sub counties. Part of the money will go to prevention among children between 12 and 16 years of age.

"If you ignore children today, two years from now you will go back to the village you find them as drunkards and yet they are tomorrow's generation and leaders," Kasirye says.

Bill Kahirimbanyi of the stop underage drinking campaign accused the media of promoting alcohol companies by giving them more space and time at the expense of campaigns against underage drinking.

Cox Kamoga from Komamboga community health centre advised CSOs, to include communities that are affected with alcohol so that they are involved instead of taking such campaigns to hotels where they are not invited.

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