Ugandan Industry Groups Warn of Job Losses and Revenue Risks Over Alcoholic Control Bill 2023

PSFU members say that the bill is an attack on the national treasury

Summary:

  • The Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA) and other industry groups warn that the Alcoholic Control Bill 2023 could jeopardize millions of jobs and revenue streams. They urge parliament to address illicit alcohol trade instead. The bill’s restrictions on alcohol sales raise concerns about economic and social impacts, prompting calls for revisions.

The Uganda Manufacturers’ Association (UMA) and Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) have raised concerns about the far-reaching economic consequences of the Alcoholic Control Bill 2023, highlighting the potential jeopardy to millions of jobs.

Additionally, the Private Sector Foundation (PSFU) has urged parliament to prioritize tackling the underlying issue of illicit alcohol, which not only jeopardizes consumer health but also results in substantial tax revenue losses for the government.

Representatives from PSFU, UMA, and KACITA have engaged with Members of Parliament on the Health and Trade Committee over the past two days to discuss the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2023.

They argue that the proposed bill threatens the livelihoods of thousands of Ugandans employed in the alcohol industry, directly and indirectly impacting over 300,000 individuals.

A key provision in the bill, Section 14(1), restricts the sale of alcoholic drinks or native liquor during specified hours on working days and public holidays/weekends.

Dr. Ezra Rubanda, the Executive Director of UMA, emphasized that the bill undermines various sectors of the economy, including manufacturers, distributors, bars, and clubs, ultimately endangering approximately 150,000 local jobs.

UMA further contends that the bill will disrupt the entire value chain, affecting everyone from barley farmers to factory workers and even school children who rely on familial income.

Dr. Thadeus Musoke, Chairman of KACITA, expressed concerns that the bill’s exemption of native liquor from regulation may exacerbate illicit trade, which already accounts for a significant portion of alcohol consumption in Uganda.

He stressed the need for comprehensive regulation across all categories of alcohol to prevent revenue loss and safeguard public health.

The PSFU echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the detrimental impact of illicit alcohol on both health and revenue streams. They called for urgent measures to regulate illicit alcohol production and trade.

Martin Maku, the Agribusiness Sector Coordinator at PSFU, highlighted the potential loss of income for farmers who supply raw materials for alcoholic beverage production.

The Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2023, presented to Parliament on November 14, 2023, aims to regulate the manufacture, sale, and consumption of alcoholic drinks.

Charles Batambuze, Vice Chairman of the National Culture Forum, emphasized the significant employment opportunities provided by the alcohol sector, including roles for artists and performers, both directly and indirectly.

In conclusion, stakeholders urge careful consideration and revision of the bill to mitigate its adverse effects on employment, revenue, and public health.

WhatsApp Follow Button

Your Page Title

The Black Examiner®.

We come to you.

Want to send us a story or have an opinion to share? Send an email to editorial@examiner.co.ug or Join Our WhatsApp CHANNEL