Trade minister sets new deadline for sachet gin (Waragi) ban

Trade minister sets new deadline for sachet gin (Waragi) ban
Sections of lawmakers have repeatedly opposed the extension of the ban on the production of liquor in plastic bags known as sachets

Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde has set May 31, 2019 as the new and final deadline for ending the commercial manufacture and consumption of sachet gin locally known as Kavera Waragi in the country.

Hon. Kyambadde says all manufacturers and traders with existing stockpiles of sachets waragi must utilize this final amnesty window to conclude trade in the products.

The commercial manufacture and consumption of waragi packed in sachets was delegitimized in 2017 on the basis of health and environmental concerns. The same order invoked price control mechanisms to prohibit access to smaller quantities of alcohol to the population.

Hon. Kyambadde says the cabinet resolution required manufacturers to install bottling machinery for packing gins beyond 200-millilitre quantities.

She says at least 15 of more than 30 manufacturers under the Uganda Alcohol Manufacturers’ Association have complied with the new directive.

She explains that the committee set up to enforce compliance among manufacturers and traders will start inspecting factories and stock on June 1 without further amnesties.

The Committee consists of officials from Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), the Uganda Police Force, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Ministry of Trade. The others are the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Uganda Manufacturers Association, the National Environment Management Authority and the Uganda Alcohol Manufacturers Association.

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The treasurer of Uganda Alcohol Manufacturers’ Association Sitaramu Reddy committed to adhering to the new quality regulations.

John Paul Musimami, the Deputy Executive Director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) in charge of compliance says many manufacturers are complying with quality standards. Musimami says UNBS is firmly behind the directive and will enforce it to the letter to protect the public.

The alcohol sub-sector contributes 8.6 per cent of the 19.8 per cent contributions of the industrial sector to the gross domestic product.

URN