Trade minister Amelia Kyambadde has unveiled a task force that will enforce the ban on packing alcohol in sachets.
The task force is comprised of officials from the ministries of internal affairs, health, finance, education, trade and local government. It includes agencies such as the Uganda Investment Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority.
While unveiling the team on Monday, September 30, 2019, Ms Kyambadde said the ban on alcohol is long overdue given its impact on society.
“Excessive consumption and abuse of alcohol has detrimental effects on humans. The effects include mental and behavioural disorders, liver and cardiovascular diseases, injuries, traffic accidents, violence, low productivity, public endangerment and death,” she said.
Dr. David Kalema, the chairman Uganda Alcohol Policy Alliance (UAPA), said neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Tanzania and Burundi banned sachet alcohol a few years back and that Uganda had delayed.
He said that pure alcohol consumers in Uganda take 26 liters per capita which is higher than the Africa average of 6.3 liters per capita.
“We are concerned about the increasing consumption of alcohol by teenagers where our studies done by UAPA show that 61% have started using alcohol before 18 years while 31% started consuming below 14 years,” he said.
“Alcohol introduces young people to drugs; it leads to a reduction in economic development, in the morning you can find some government workers and other workers in bars. 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,” he added.
Mr Ashraf Chemonges, a member of the team, said there were many offences relating to alcohol abuse which include murder, drink drinking, domestic violence, sexually related offences, and common assaults.
Mr Chemonges said the laws to regulate the use and prevent alcohol abuse were weak and outdated. He said the taxes were high on imported alcohol but very low on domestically manufactured alcohol. “There is poor enforcement of laws, corruption, lack of sensitization on alcohol abuse,” Chemonges said.