By Julius Businge
President Yoweri Museveni has urged alcohol drinkers in Uganda to drink responsibly so as to avoid the negative impacts of alcohol on health and the wallet.
“I do not drink beer but I am here to promote it for my drunkards,” Museveni told a gathering on Aug. 22 in Mbarara, Western Uganda while officiating the opening of Nile Breweries Uganda Limited’s new brewery plant.
The president urged drinkers to associate with alcohol that is industrially produced and safe. He said having a new beer plant was a plus to the country in terms of taxes, new job opportunities and market for raw materials like maize, sorghum, cassava among others.
“I am going to organize my farmers to grow these crops,” he said. “I thank the investors for coming to Uganda,” he added. “I have asked them to think about diversifying their investments.”
He said government has done its part of ensuring there is good macroeconomic framework, peace which is boosting investments in the country “so you (famers) should do your part”.
With the commissioning of NBL’s Mbarara plant, the company’s production capacity now stands at 2.4million hectoliters, making it one of the largest beer brewers in Uganda, East Africa’s third largest economy.
The Company’s Managing Director Nick Jenkinson said their expansion to Mbarara which was partly attributed to the presence of good quality enough water from River Rwizi, which would support the plant among other factors, will create more jobs and increase on taxes paid to government.
He said the new brewery employs 180 people directly and 32, 000 indirectly. The company’s tax contribution has jumped to over Shs 185billion in 2013 from Shs 40billion in 2004.