By Deo Wasswa
As a measure to enforce the government ban on alcohol sold in sachets, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards has closed over 167 sachet-filling machines belonging to at least 37 alcohol-manufacturing companies.
In an operation conducted in Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja and Mitiyana, the UNBS staff also seized and confined packaging materials used in production of sachets.
The Minister of Trade Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde issued a directive banning the sale of alcohol in sachets effective 1st June 2019 and instituted a multi-agency task force including UNBS, Ministry of Health, Uganda Police, and National Environment Management Authority to enforce the ban.
The ban was instituted as a consumer protection measure to guard against excessive alcohol consumption especially among the youth. Before the ban, alcohol sold in sachets was readily available and affordable to the majority of the youth.
UNBS Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo, said: “We are aware that by time we sealed off the machines some of the alcohol in sachets had already found its way on the market. Our market surveillance team will soon carry out raids on wholesale and retail outlets that could still be selling sachets. We are committed to enforcing standards to protect the health and safety of consumers.” He urged consumers to report cases of alcohol sold in sachets on the UNBS toll free line 0800 133 133.