More than 1.3 workers risk losing their jobs if the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2023 is enacted, according to Ugandan brewers.
The Bill proposes that all persons found selling alcohol after 10pm on weekdays and midnight during weekends should be fined Ush20 million, or imprisoned for 10 years.
The Bill was tabled in the Ugandan Parliament by Tororo District Woman MP Sarah Opendi.
Speaking during a meeting on December 6, Uganda Alcohol Industry Association (UAIA) secretary general Jackie Tahakanizibwa said restricting hours for selling alcohol would affect consumers and workers of liquor businesses in the county.
“Restriction on working hours has the potential to affect 1.3 million and livelihoods of about 6.3 million people in Uganda.
“The move will also affect manufacturers, distributors, pubs, and nightclubs,” Tahakanizibwa warned.
She added that more than 300,000 farmers who produce the raw materials used in making alcohol will lose their source of income if the Bill is signed into law.
According to statistics from UAIA, two largest beer manufacturers in Uganda spend more than Ush205 billion on paying farmers who supply the raw materials annually.
Farmers usually supply maize, sorghum, millet, barley and cassava to alcohol manufacturers in the country.
“The Bill’s economic implications are significant, with an anticipated budgetary loss of more than $1 trillion in alcohol related taxes,” said Tahakanizibwa.
She added that passing the Bill could drive away investors in the alcohol industry to other countries in the region.
On the other hand, the State Minister of Finance Evelyn Anite stated that the government was planning to launch a crackdown on unregistered companies dealing with alcohol manufacturing.
“We are going to crack down on them before the Bill is passed. Uganda National Bureau of Standards will license the alcohol producers and ensure all their products are tested,” stated Anite.
Meanwhile, while tabling the Bill in Parliament, the MP had explained that alcohol consumption affects productivity of families hence the need to regulate the manufacturing, sale and consumption.