Protest Ban of Sale in Morning Hours.
Manufacturers of Alcoholic Drinks have protested provisions of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2022 which prohibit the sale of Alcohol in the morning hours saying it’s an attack on fundamental freedom to socialize.
They claim there is no scientific evidence that alcohol abuse only takes place in the morning hours.
During the stakeholder engagement organized by the Parliamentary Department of Legislative and procedural services over the proposed Alcoholic Drinks Control, Bill 2022 moved by Tororo District Woman MP Sarah Opendi Manufacturers of Alcoholic Drinks under the Uganda Alcohol Industry Association registered their reservation with the proposed bill to regulate the manufacture, importation, sale, and consume alcohol.
Led by Onapito Ekomoloit the chairperson of the Association, alcoholic drinks manufacturers submitted that the bill is against fundamental freedoms which were ushered in by the NRM government including the freedom to consumer choice, Freedom of access to goods and services, Freedom of Trade and Freedom of employment.
Onapito underlined that the bill restricting the sale of alcoholic drinks before noon and beyond 06:00 hours of the morning is an attack on the freedom to socialize since it encroaches on drinking hours.
The bill proposes a fine of Shs.20m or imprisonment of 10 years to whoever is found guilty of selling alcohol during prohibited hours. The Association submitted that there is no evidence that alcohol abuse only takes place in the morning hours. They believe there is no need to regulate drinking hours since alcohol abuse can also happen in the evening.
The Association is also against licensing alcoholic drinks sales, saying it will kick the small-scale retailers out of business. The Bill provides for the provision of a license valid for twelve months and a person who contravenes the section is liable to a fine of 10m or a five-year jail term.
The Alcohol Industry contributes 4.9% of the GDP of the country but manufacturers of alcoholic drinks believe legislation of this kind will impede the growth of the industry and promote illicit alcoholic consumption.
However, Opendi assured the industry that the bill was brought in good spirits to eliminate illicit trade in and manufacturing of alcoholic drinks, protect children under the age of 18 years from consumption of alcohol and provide for treatment and rehabilitation programs.
The Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2023, prohibits the sale of alcoholic drinks in passenger service vehicles and also prohibits the sale of alcohol to law enforcement officers
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