UGANDA – Alcoholic beverage players under their umbrella body, the Uganda Alcohol Industry Association (UAIA), have advocated for responsible alcohol drinking with the launch of a code of conduct that will guide the sale and consumption of alcohol all over the country.

The UAIA chairman, Onapito Ekomoloit, said the code will help address social issues such as drinking and driving, underage drinking, and heavy episodic drinking all aimed at promoting the responsible use of alcoholic beverages.

He, however, noted that the code does not serve to summarize or substitute national laws and policies, which must always be upheld but rather explains UAIA’s approach to self-regulation.

According to the code of conduct by alcohol manufacturers, all members of UAIA must only portray drinking in safe and appropriate circumstances.

In addition, those marketing alcohol should not imply that drinking enhances virility, mental ability or performance, skills, or strength.

“Therefore, the subscribers’ marketing shall not depict drinking before or during activities or in situations or locations where drinking alcoholic beverages would be unsafe or unwise.”

“In particular, marketing should not imply that drinking alcohol is acceptable before or while operating machinery, driving a vehicle, or undertaking any other occupation, endeavor, or sporting activity that requires a high degree of alertness or physical coordination to be carried out safely,” the code reads in part.

‘Responsible Code 2023’, is one notable code that is intended to ease engagement and have collective engagements with government agencies on issues of mutual interests, honesty, and truth in the way formal players in the alcoholic beverages sector produce and market their different products.

In the code, the subscribers’ marketing shall not market their alcohol brands as energy drinks nor imply that consuming them delivers energy or endurance benefits.

They will not advertise or promote brands in a way that implies that drinking alcohol will increase stamina, make the night last longer, or give a boost, nor use suggesting drink names that imply energizing, stimulating, or invigorating properties.

In the case of co-promoting alcoholic brands with energy drinks, the mixer must be treated neutrally just like any other mixer, no energy claims should be made, and particular care must be taken with the imagery used.

With this code, penal sanctions have been put in place for non-compliant members and there will be a committee constituted to monitor and oversee the implementation.

According to the code, the committee may impose a fine not exceeding shs10 million (US$2,715) against the offender but may also get cautioned.

Commenting about the new code of conduct, the Minister for Trade, Harriet Ntabadde said it will promote responsible selling and consumption of alcoholic beverages, and the government will support the manufacturers of the alcoholic drinks in ensuring compliance.

“It will help promote a lot of self-regulation. In other countries where we have moved, we have seen a lot of people very organized and regulated but also the economies are moving well. We hope to see it here,” Ntabadde said.

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