Proposed Alcohol Control Bill: A Look at Uganda’s Plan to Tackle High Alcohol Consumption

The Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2023 has sparked mixed reactions from the public, with some viewing it as necessary to address the country's high levels of alcohol consumption, while others view it as too restrictive.

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Uganda, a country known for its high alcohol consumption rates, is set to face a potential shift with the introduction of a stringent alcohol trading and consumption bill in Parliament. The Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2023, presented by Sarah Opendi, has sparked mixed reactions from the public, with some viewing it as restrictive and contentious.

The bill, if passed, would introduce a number of significant changes to Uganda’s alcohol landscape. These include:

  • Limiting trading hours to five hours on working days and twelve hours on weekends. This is a significant reduction from the current situation, where alcohol can be sold from as early as 6 am to as late as 11 pm.

  • Banning the sale of alcohol in sachets or plastic bottles. This is a move that is likely to be unpopular with some Ugandans, as sachets are a common and affordable form of packaging for alcohol.

  • Increasing the penalties for selling alcohol to minors. The current penalty for selling alcohol to a minor is a fine of up to Shs100,000. The proposed bill would increase this penalty to a fine of up to Shs20 million or imprisonment for up to two years.

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  • Requiring online alcohol sellers to implement age verification mechanisms. This is a measure that is intended to prevent underage people from purchasing alcohol online.

The proposed bill is facing opposition from some quarters, who argue that it is too restrictive and will be difficult to enforce. However, proponents of the bill argue that it is necessary to address the country’s high levels of alcohol consumption.

Uganda’s alcohol consumption rates are among the highest in the world. According to the World Health Organization, the average Ugandan consumes 12.3 liters of pure alcohol per year. This is significantly higher than the global average of 6.5 liters per year.

High levels of alcohol consumption are associated with a number of health problems, including liver disease, heart disease, and cancer. Alcohol is also a major risk factor for accidents, violence, and crime.

The proposed alcohol control bill is an attempt to address these problems by reducing alcohol consumption in Uganda. It is a controversial bill, but it is one that could have a significant impact on the health and safety of Ugandans.

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