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Gov't issues warning on alcohol packaging

By Violet Nabatanzi

Added 13th September 2019 03:19 PM

Officials from the trade and industry ministry reported that alcohol manufacturing companies have resorted to packing alcohol in plastic bottles.

Gov't issues warning on alcohol packaging

The minister of trade, industry and cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde posing for a photo with members of the task force who were appointed to coordinate the enforcement of the ban on packaging Alcohol in sachets and bottles of less than 200ml. Photo by Violet Nabatanzi

Officials from the trade and industry ministry reported that alcohol manufacturing companies have resorted to packing alcohol in plastic bottles.

ALCOHOL

KAMPALA - Government has warned companies against packing alcohol in plastic bottles of 100ml following a ban on packing alcohol in sachets.

Officials from the trade and industry ministry reported that alcohol manufacturing companies have resorted to packing alcohol in plastic bottles after the ministry banned selling alcohol in sachets.

The trade and industry minister Amelia Kyambadde has since warned that such actions are illegal and companies involved risk being closed.

"We have realized that after banning sachet waragi, companies have resorted to packing alcohol in plastic bottles of 100ml which is also illegal," Kyambadde said

The minister issued the warning during the launch of the multi-sectoral task force to coordinate the enforcement of the ban on packing alcohol in sachets and bottles of less than 200mls.

The function took place on Thursday in Kampala. The task force is made up of officials from the ministry of health, ministry of internal affairs, ministry of finance, Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, ministry of trade and ministry of local government.

Alcohol consumption

Kyambadde said alcohol consumption in Uganda was at 9.8 liters per capita with men consuming 14.4 liters and women 5.liters.

"Excessive consumption and abuse of alcohol has detrimental effects on humans. The effects include mental and behavioral disorders, liver and cardiovascular diseases, injuries, traffic accidents, violence, low productivity, public endangerment and death," the minister said.

Dr. David Kalema, chairman Uganda Alcohol Policy Alliance said Uganda had delayed banning alcohol packed in sachets as compared to neighbouring countries.

Kalema said Cabinet slapped the ban in Uganda this year while in Kenya it was banned in 2005, Rwanda in 2008, Burundi 2013 and Tanzania in 2017. 

He noted that the ban on sachet waragi in Uganda was celebrated in Tanzania and Rwanda because the dealers would obtain them in Uganda and sell them illegally where it was banned

Quoting WHO reports, he said Uganda has a high per capita consumption of pure alcohol of 9.5 liters that includes people of 15 years and above. 

"We are concerned about the increasing consumption of alcohol by teenagers. Our reports show that 61% have started using alcohol before 18 years while 31% started consuming while below 14 years," he said.

He said in 2018 WHO reported that in Uganda 2,861 people died of liver cirrhosis, 1,514 cancer deaths some attributed alcohol and 3,900 traffic accidents related to alcohol. 

"Alcohol introduces young people to drugs; it leads to reduction in economic development. We can't ban alcohol use but we can regulate its use with effective policies. We want to reduce the harm caused by alcohol, we are not against alcohol," Kalema said.

Senior Superintendent of Police Seiko Chemonges, Police focal person on alcohol said offences relating to alcohol abuse such as murder, drink drinking, domestic violence, sexually related offences and common assaults were on an increase.

Chemonges noted that the laws regulating alcohol abuse were weak and outdated adding that taxes were high on imported alcohol but very low on domestically manufactured alcohol. 

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