Bill To Regulate Drinking Hours In Offing

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In short
One of the clauses in the bill seeks to make it an offence for a bar or entertainment place owner to sell alcohol on his or her premises before 5 pm and midnight on weekdays, while during weekends, from 5 pm on Friday to one am on Monday.

Mukono Municipality Member of Parliament, Betty Nambooze, is drafting a bill that will regulate sale and consumption of alcohol in bars and entertainment places in Uganda.

 
The Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill 2016 seeks to regulate the manufacture, advertisement, sale, supply and consumption of alcoholic drinks. It also seeks to license persons and premises on which alcoholic drinks are sold, to prohibit the sale of such drinks to specified persons.
 
One of the clauses in the bill seeks to make it an offence for a bar or entertainment place owner to sell alcohol on his or her premises before 5 pm and midnight on weekdays, while during weekends, from 5 pm on Friday to one am on Monday.
 
According to Nambooze who is spearheading the private members' bill, contravention of the provisions, once passed attracts a fine of two million shillings or imprisonment of one year or both.
 
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The National Alcohol Licensing and Control Board shall also not grant a license to any person if it appears that that person intends to sell alcoholic drinks in any institution of basic education including universities, tertiary institutions, in any hospital, clinic or rehabilitation centres, prison or remand home or any place which the Minister, by statutory instrument may prohibit.
 
However, Emmanuel Kalule Sengo, Gomba East MP, opposes the ban at the universities, noting that students are above 18 years. He instead suggests that the hours of sale of alcohol in the guild canteens should be regulated
 
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Nambooze, while meeting a number of MPs at Parliament today, insisted that the objective of the bill is to protect the health of the individual in the light of the dangers of excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks and inform them of the risks of excessive consumption.
 
David Kalema, chairman of Uganda Alcohol Policy Alliance however suggests that the Ministry of Health takes the lead in championing the bill as a public health concern and not business interest.
 
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In Kenya, the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act was passed in 2010, spearheaded by former Naivasha MP John Mututho. The law requires bars to be open from 5 pm to 11pm on weekdays and from 2 pm to 11 pm on weekends.
 
Some Clauses in The Bill
The proposed law establishes district and sub county Alcohol Licensing and Control Committees to monitor and regulate the sale, advertisement, supply and consumption of alcoholic drinks.
 
A person who sells alcohol to a person who is visibly already drunk shall be fined 100,000 shillings or imprisoned for two months or both.
 
If a person abuses alcohol and efforts to have him or her voluntarily stop consuming fail, a spouse, parent, guardian or police officer may apply to a sub county Alcohol Licensing and Control Committee to order prohibition of sale of alcohol to that person.
 
It shall be an offence for a person to sell, import, manufacture, pack or distribute an alcoholic drink in sachets or such other form.  
 
A person who sells, manufacturers, imports, distributes or packs an alcoholic drink in a container, bottle or packaging of less than 250 millilitres is liable to a fine of twenty million shillings or imprisonment for ten years or both.
 
Any person in charge of selling alcoholic drinks shall sell or offer for consumption an alcoholic drink on credit at his own accord. No person shall attach property of another as a claim for unpaid bills for alcohol consumed from a retailer or off licence holder.
 
A person who sells, markets or displays with intent to sell or consume or offer for consumption an alcoholic drink in a passenger service vehicle, is liable to pay four million shillings or face six months' imprisonment.
 
A person who sells, supplies or offers for sale or consumption of alcohol to a police or army officer in uniform while on duty is liable to pay a 100,000 shillings fine or one year imprisonment.

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.