Alcohol Consumers ‘Worried’ As Parliament Moots Tough Liquor Regulations

Alcohol Consumers ‘Worried’ As Parliament Moots Tough Liquor Regulations

By Serestino Tusingwire

Parliament through Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze (DP) has tabled the tough ‘Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2016’ seeking to stop alcohol sale and consumption before 5pm and after 12:00am.

Once passed, the violators of this law will risk a Shs2m fine or one-year jail term or both, according to penalties in draft alcohol regulation.

The bill aims to consolidate all alcohol related laws and set tougher sanctions on alcohol consumption by, among others, creating national, district, and sub-county licencing and regulation committees.

It provides that a retailer cannot sue to recover any debt extended willingly to a consumer of alcohol unless the alcohol is served to a resident hotel, Inn or lodge guest. This means that bar owners would incur losses unless patrons pay up before leaving the service point.

The Bill provides for jail not less than 10 years to individuals who sell alcoholic beverages to children or buys for them, though the it does not say how the age of prospective alcohol buyers will be verified.

The Bill also seeks to ban advertisement of alcohol, just like the country did with tobacco, eliciting strong caution from players in the former industry.

However the bill is criticized already alcohol brewers saying alcohol cannot be simply washed away because it’s as old as humanity.

“Alcohol cannot be simply wished away. It is as old as humanity. They should also understand the role of the beer companies to the growth of Uganda’s economy”. Onapito Ekomoloit, chair Uganda Alcohol Industry Association said.