Manufacturers ask for more time
The alcohol processors and distributors acknowledged the danger posed by alcohol in sachets, however, they pleaded for more time until 2018 to allow them effectively prepare for the transition.
“We need more time to purchase the machines for the production of plastic bottles, train the people to operate those machines and conduct a lot of sensitization. Besides, the alternative tetra packs are also very expensive and not readily available on the market,” said P. Vijaya Kumar the Managing Director for Chief Distillers Uganda Ltd.
However, Kyambadde said government needed to move very fast to address the problem of alcohol abuse, or else the manufacturers would be the ones to suffer when pressure mounts from the public which in the end would kill the industry. She said the period of 9 months was sufficient for them to transform and turn to packaging in bottles.
The Vice Chairperson of the Uganda Alcohol Industry Association Ndahura Augustine told the minister that they were willing to stop the packaging of alcohol in kavera sachets, but government needed to deal with the elusive alcohol manufacturers who are not members of their association, majority of whom use lethal ingredients in alcohol.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives Ambassador Julius Onen assured the manufacturers that his ministry is will fast track the development of a new law – the Alcohol Bill that will regulate the production, distribution and consumption of alcohol. Onen said the Bill will be tabled before Parliament by June 2017.
The alcohol manufacturers agreed to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) with clear Terms of Reference (ToRs) to ensure that all alcohol producers are under their umbrella association – Uganda Alcohol Industry Association (UAIA) which currently has 40 members.
The minister also directed UNBS to publicise the regulations and administrative directives of the alcohol industry, including the requirements of certification of the product for information of the investors/public within 2 weeks from date of the meeting.
The meeting on Tuesday was attended by alcohol manufacturers and distributors including Uganda Breweries Ltd, Premier distillers, SCOUL, Harris International, 4 Star Beverages, Boss Beverages, London Distillers among others.