No drinking before, during work as alcohol manufacturers launch code of conduct


Alcoholic beverages players under their umbrella body, the Uganda Alcohol Industry Association (UAIA) have launched  a code of conduct that will guide the sale and consumption of alcohol all over the country.

The code named ‘Responsible Code 2023” is among others  intended to ease engagement and have collective engagements with government agencies on issues of mutual interests, honesty, and truth in the way formal players in the alcoholic beverages sector produce and market their different products.

According to the code launched on Wednesday, all members of UAIA must only portray drinking in safe and appropriate circumstances.

“Therefore, the subscribers marketing shall not depict drinking before or during activities or in situations or locations where drinking alcohol beverages would be unsafe or unwise. In particular, marketing should not imply that drinking alcohol is acceptable before or while operating machinery, driving a vehicle or undertaking any other occupation, endeavor or sporting activity that requires a high degree of alertness or physical coordination in order to be carried out safely,” the code reads in part.

According to the code of conduct by alcohol manufacturers, those marketing alcohol should not imply that drinking enhances virility, mental ability or performance, skills or strength.

“The subscribers marketing shall not market their alcohol brands as energy drinks, nor imply that consuming them delivers energy or endurance benefits. We will not advertise or promote brands in a way which implies that drinking alcohol will increase stamina, make the night last longer or give a boost, nor use suggesting drink names which imply energizing, stimulating or invigorating properties.”

The code indicates that in case of co-promoting the alcoholic brands with energy drinks, the mixer must be treated in a neutral manner just like any other mixer and that no energy claimed should be made and particular care must be taken with the imagery used.

The subscribers to this code, their respective producers, distributors, and all other traders in alcoholic beverages must abide by the practices such as promoting a responsible attitude to the consumption of their products.

With this code, penal sanctions have been put in place for non-compliant members and there will be a committee constituted to monitor and oversee the implementation.

According to the code, the committee may impose a fine not exceeding shs10 million against the offender but may also caution him or her.

Commenting about the new code of conduct, the Minister for Trade, Harriet Ntabadde said it will promote responsible selling and consumption of the alcoholic beverages.

“It will help promote a lot of self-regulation. In other countries where we have moved, we have seen a lot of people very organized and regulated but also the economies are moving well. We hope to see it here,”Ntabadde said.

“If at 10am you are high yet going for a top management meeting, it is appalling. This code will be enforced by all organisations to ensure there is order in our country.  It will help safeguard the consumers and distributors but also shape the strategy of marketing alcoholic drinks. The code of conduct will enable players tell the public that alcohol is not a dangerous as many think if it is taken in the right way.”

Owing to its benefits in form of taxes and job creation, the Trade Minister said government will support the manufacturers of the alcoholic drinks in ensuring compliance.

“Statistics show that alcohol industry is generating over shs800 billion in terms of taxes annually which is a lot of money. You can’t underrate such sector which generates almost 39% of the total taxes of this nation. Alcohol is a need and to other people it is a medicine,”Ntabadde said.

The UAIA chairman, Onapito Ekomoloit said the code will help address social issues such as drinking and driving, underage drinking, and heavy episodic drinking all aimed at promoting responsible use of alcoholic beverages..

He however noted that the code does not serve to summarize or substitute national laws, and policies,  which must always be upheld but rather explain UAIA’s approach to self-regulation.

“The code will create safeguards for our consumers by regulating distributorship, marketing, purchase, supply, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in a bid to protect the alcohol industry’s reputation and freedom of expression in consumer-facing, brand activities across all our alcohol brands,”

The UAIA vice chairperson, Juliana Kaggwa said the code will be governed by principles such as adult appeal, good taste and decency, and health messages among others.

“The subscribers’ to the marketing must only portray drinking in safe and appropriate circumstances. Never portray drinking before or whilst driving motor vehicles, operating machinery, or any other similar activity or situation,”  Kaggwa said.

“The supply, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages must depict, encourage and promote moderate and responsible drinking. Members or subscribers must promote a responsible attitude, never depict, condone, or encourage excessive or irresponsible drinking or refer in any favorable manner to the effects of intoxication.”





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