Alcohol bill: Uganda Exports Promotions Board concerned over duplications

Alcohol bill: Uganda Exports Promotions Board concerned over duplications
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The Uganda Export Promotions Board (UEPB) has expressed concern over the duplication of laws and policies regulating investment in the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2023 which is currently under scrutiny by the joint Parliamentary Committee of Health and Trade.

Citing part II of Section 4 (a), (b), and (c) of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill that stipulates licensing of the manufacture of an alcoholic drink; erecting, establishing, or operating a factory for the manufacture of alcoholic drinks, the UEPB Executive Director Dr. Elly Twineyo said regulations such as the investment code, Uganda or East African standards relating to bye-laws in several local Government are already in place to regulate licensing of manufacture of alcohol.

“It is our prayer that the new bill should not be a duplication of any of these regulations because it will result in an increase in the cost of doing business. Relatedly, the bill should be reviewed to cater for manufacture under free zones,” said Twineyo.

While appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Health and Trade, he also said that Section 15 (1) which regulates the packaging of alcoholic drinks is already a requirement under the applicable Uganda and  East Africa standards on alcoholic beverages.

“With or without a bill, the Government needs to address illegal imports of alcoholic beverages which can end up being sold in the black market,” he stated.

When tasked by MPs on the issue of native or  illicit alcohol that constitutes 65% share of the alcoholic beverages market in Uganda, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) Deputy Executive Director in charge of standards Patricia Ejalu said that there are no

standards in place to regulate native liquor.

She said that the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2023 should address the alcohol that is not currently being regulated by UNBS.

“We are in a position to facilitate the development of any product standards for products produced in this country; we sat with the producers of kombucha drinks and came up with standards, currently we have a number of certified kombucha drinks on the market,” said

Ejalu.

Betty Engola, the Apac Woman MP wondered whether UNBS is aware that there are a lot of altered alcoholic drinks on the market. She inquired about the standard measure that UNBS uses in certifying alcohol that is fit for human consumption.

Tom Bright Amooti, the Kyaka Central MP in Kyegegwa said: “These days you find people producing illicit alcohol and they even start advertising it. Does it mean that UNBS lacks the capacity?”

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