Sarah Opendi, the Tororo Woman MP, who proposed the 2023 Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill in Uganda, clarified before Parliament that the bill aims to regulate, not ban, alcohol consumption in the country. Opendi emphasized that if the bill becomes law, it will restrict politicians from purchasing alcohol for their constituents during working hours.
In her appearance before the joint Health and Trade committees, Opendi urged swift processing of the bill, citing its potential to protect vulnerable individuals, reduce accident rates, and mitigate the spread of HIV in Uganda. Expressing concern over the high consumption of illicit alcohol, she noted that 65% of the alcohol produced in Uganda lacks clearance from the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS).
The proposed legislation seeks to regulate various aspects of alcoholic drinks, including manufacturing, importation, sale, consumption, and advertisement. Opendi’s bill suggests limiting alcohol sales on working days to the period between 5 pm and 10 pm, with weekend sales allowed from midday to midnight. Additionally, the legislation would prohibit alcohol sales to minors and law enforcement officers.
One notable provision in the bill targets political leaders, proposing penalties for those who purchase alcohol for their constituents during working hours or election campaigns. However, committee members raised questions about the necessity of a new bill instead of amending existing alcohol-related laws in Uganda.
Opendi proposed a jail term of 10years or fine of Shs20 Million for anyone found selling alcoholic drinks before 5Pm & beyond 10Pm on working days.