Alcohol industry association meets Buganda Katikkiro, discuss areas of collaboration

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Alcohol industry association meets Buganda Katikkiro, discuss areas of collaboration
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Members of the Uganda Alcohol Industry Association (UAIA) led by their Chairperson Jackie Tahakanizibwa have met the Katikkiro of Buganda Kingdom, Charles Peter Mayiga at Mengo to discuss sector collaborations and areas of work.

An organization that brings together the formal alcoholic beverages manufacturers, and other players in Uganda, UAIA represents the interests of the alcohol beverage sector and consists of a membership of over 40 manufacturers and importers or distributors of adult beverages.

Tahakanizibwa thanked the Kingdom of Buganda for the efforts they have made towards maintaining cultural values and applauded the Katikkiro and his team for taking the lead role in guiding the people on how to preserve cultural norms for longevity.

“Buganda is a business hub with over 60% of the business operations and because of that, we consider the Kingdom as a most strategic ally for our businesses and working together would elevate our institutions and people while we grow business and its related benefits in the region,” Tahakanizibwa said.

She  mentioned that the association is organizing the first ever food and beverages exhibition where all UAIA members will be showcasing the different brands that they produce and how their businesses are impacting their communities positively and formally requested the kingdom to be part.

“We are aware that Buganda Kingdom and some of our members have running partnerships, we would like to explore more areas of collaboration with the kingdom. There is a lot we can do together in the space of environmental conservation, sanitation, and skilling the young people among others. We are happy to work with your team to bring this to life,” Tahakanizibwa added.

She also raised some of the challenges that the association is facing with the most prominent ones being the scourge of trade in illicit alcohol and the proposed Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill, 2023, which in the current form, she said, would greatly hinder their businesses from the grass roots (farmers) all the way to the final consumers.

Tahakanizibwa appealed to the Katikkiro and the kingdom to join UAIA in advocating for a fair, balanced, and workable regulation to maintain continuity of their businesses as they strive to “add a brick” on the development of the country.

“We would like to categorically state to you that we are not opposed to legislation and welcome laws that regulate our operations for the good of the nation.  However, there are some clauses in the bill that we have appealed to law makers to revise and make better in order to progress without stifling business; they include among others; Clause 5 (7) on geographical restrictions, Clause 14 (1) on time of sell, and others on licensing for which we have mooted and given alternatives to take. The proposed bill will lead to a 60% drop in revenue for government, bars, and retail outlets. 4.2 trillion is the projected loss in revenue across the value chain resulting to loss of over 800,000 jobs.”

Tahakanizibwa advised that the focus of the law should be on curbing illicit alcohol not imposing impractical laws on the already compliant players.

In response, Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga welcomed the gesture to work with UAIA on various projects that benefit the people and vowed to become an ally in advocating for fair and balanced legislation in relation to the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill that is being discussed.

He also appreciated the role the alcohol sector is playing in the social economic development of Uganda and the communities at large.

“I am extremely pleased by your efforts to drive positive change through the responsible drinking initiatives and I pledged full support to the association in the fight against alcoholism and illicit alcohol. Come up with a detailed roadmap and we begin work.”

He has also encouraged the association to push for exports of their heritage brands like Uganda Waragi to keep the Ugandan spirit alive in the diaspora.

UAIA members are impacting over 6 million livelihoods across Uganda through direct and indirect jobs (804,020 people across the value chain including 53,750 grain farmers, 745,500 employees of bar and retail outlets, 190 distributor businesses).

They contribute an estimated shs1.1 trillion to the national tax base annually and invest shs 20 billion annually in various community initiatives impacting different sectors including education, sports, arts and entertainment.

 

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