Tororo District Woman Representative, Hon. Sarah Opendi will introduce the Alcohol Control Bill that seeks to regulate drinking.
The Private Member’s Bill seeks to repeal the current legislation that includes, the Liquor Act, the Portable Spirit Act, and the Enguli (Manufacturing and Licensing) Act, all enacted in the 1960s which have become obsolete to address contemporary challenges of excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks.
Opendi is concerned that the harmful use of alcoholic drinks causes a high burden of disease and has significant social and economic consequences like domestic violence that often results in harm to people.
She said that the Bill will comprehensively address the regulation of the manufacture and importation, sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks.
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She also wants the law to regulate the promotion and advertisement of alcoholic drinks as well as the treatment and rehabilitation of persons affected by alcoholic drinks among others.
“The current legislations have their weaknesses and we need stringent measures or penalties to control the consumption of alcohol and also its production in the country,” Opendi said.
Opendi added that although they cannot stop people from drinking alcohol, the government can regulate it the drinking hours.
Terego District Woman MP, Hon. Rose Obiga recounted the devastating effects of unregulated consumption of alcohol citing ‘City 5’, a local potent gin produced by City 5 Distillers in Arua City that killed at least 15 people in August this year.
“Recently, we lost a big number of our people; I would like to allude to the fact that many heavy alcohol consumers do not take care of their families. It iss a major source of domestic violence, failure to pay school fees, take care of their children and wives,” she said.
Equally, Amuru District Woman Representative, Hon. Lucy Akello said that the Bill will help curb the production, sale and consumption of dangerous brands of alcohol that have become too cheap to consumers including children in the country.
Hon. Medard Lubega Sseggona (NUP, Busiro County East) condemned the proponents of the Bill for sexualizing it.
“By saying that people fail to take care of children and wives, what happens to the wives who drink?” he questioned.
Anita Among however said that it was a fact that when people drink too much alcohol, many of them fail to take care of their families.
In 2019, the Ministry of Health formulated the National Alcohol Control Policy that guides stakeholders’ actions by all relevant stakeholders to reduce the harmful use of alcohol but the policy has not been well considered and implemented.
Notably, the World Health Organization Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health of 2018 ranked Uganda among the top alcohol per capita consuming countries in Africa.
Uganda was also ranked the leading per capita consumer in East Africa.