On August 25, beer maker, Nile Breweries Limited launched a campaign against the sale and consumption of illicit alcohol amidst death reports of people drinking an illicit spirit in the Northern Uganda city of Arua.
Dubbed – Mind Your Drink – the campaign aims at creating public awareness about the dangers of illicit alcohol. This alcohol, accounting for 65% of the alcohol market in Uganda, is neither registered, nor certified nor does it pay taxes. It is dangerous to the health of the consumers and undermines the economic development of the country, according to industry players. The other partners for this campaign are; Uganda Alcohol Industry Association, Uganda Bureau of Standards, Uganda Police and the Uganda Revenue Authority.
“Alcohol was originally invented to create happiness. However, there are people that are giving it a bad name by not following the right rules and regulations in producing, selling and consuming it. There is a strong need to fight against illegal alcohol,’’ said Onapito Ekomoloit, the Chairman of the UAIA and also Legal and Corporate Affairs Director at NBL.
According to the 2021 Euromonitor International report, illicit alcohol consumption increased to 64.7% in Uganda.
The harsh economic conditions and the down-trading impact of Covid-19 have resulted in the formal beer industry losing market share down to 35.5%, raising concerns over government tax revenues, grain farmers’ market and the licit industry jobs.
NBL recommends a multi-sectoral approach in order to effectively combat the spread of illicit alcohol in Uganda.
“Engaging different stakeholders in this campaign will strengthen the message we want to send out on dangers of illicit alcohol, especially to the health of consumers,” said Clare Asiimwe, the Sustainability Manager at NBL.