24 April 2018

Uganda: Minister Achieng Tasks Lango Districts to Ban Sachet Waragi

Lira — Health Minister, Dr. Jane Achieng has directed the eight districts in Lango region to immediately pass laws banning the sale of sachet waragi. The district are Dokolo, Oyam, Apac, Lira, Kole, Alebtong, Amolatar and Otuke.

In September 2-17, government banned the sale of sachet waragi but extended the ban to March 2019 following pleas from traders. Now, the Health Minister has renewed the call for the ban of the sachet waragi, saying it is responsible for breaking up families.

She made the call in remarks on the health situation in the district, during the burial of her late father, Ronald Remmy Apenyo on Monday at Corner Atapara trading center in Oyam district. Achieng noted that the consumption of sachet waragi has taken a huge toll on families with some men failing to fulfill their marital duties like conjugal rights and providing for their families.

"Many children have dropped out of school because their fathers cannot pay school fees. But to make it worse men are not functioning, families have lost their pillars and people are completely going astray," she said.

In a rejoinder, the Health State Minister, Sarah Opendi, said government is committed to ending the production of the liquor packed in sachets. He urged local governments to regulate alcohol consumption to boost production.

Nelson Adea, the Oyam LC V Chairperson, said arrangements are underway for the district council to formulate an ordinance against liquor. Yosam Odur, the Lango Paramount Chief backed the latest calls to ban the sales and consumption of sachet-waragi.

He argued that heavy alcohol consumption has affected production in the region as men spending their time drinking. He warned youths against excessive alcohol consumption, saying it is responsible for the high rate of poverty in the area.

In 2016, Gulu district council passed an ordinance titled 'Alcohol Drinks control ordinance' seeking to regulate alcohol consumption, and subsequently banned sachet waragi.

Section 18 of the ordinance states that "a person shall not sell, distribute or consume or otherwise deal in alcoholic drinks packaged in plastic sachets, or any other plastic packaging".

It adds that alcoholic drinks sold, distributed or consumed within the district must be packaged in glass bottles that contain no less than 250 Milliliters". The district moved to enforce the ban but was stopped by the Trade Ministry.

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