Producers call for higher taxes on imported wines

Uganda Small Scale Industries Association’s Kawule Jooga displays some of the locally manufactured wines which were on display at the USSIA offices. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE

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Manufacturers also say imported wine is of poor quality.

Kampala- Local wine manufacturers have called on Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to impose higher taxes on imported wines because they are inferior and are being dumped here to confuse consumers.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday, Ms Prudence Ukkonika, the managing director Bella Wines, said wine producing countries usually send the worst quality wine to Africa because it is cheaper to pack it in casks rather than bottles where good quality wine is often packed.

“These countries send the worst quality of wine to Africa. They pack cheap wine in casks but the best wine is packed in bottles,” she said.

She added that imported wines deserve higher taxes because local manufacturers import the bottles in which they package their wines which URA also taxes.
This, according to Ms Ukkonika, means local wines are paying higher taxes for producing wine because URA is taxing them twice on raw materials.

The wine makers on Tuesday met at the Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA) offices in Lugogo Show Grounds to evaluate comments and feedback from last year’s inaugural wine expo at the Centenary Park.

Demand for organic wine
Mr Kawule Jooga, the Kampala zone USSIA coordinator, said wineries in Uganda have an opportunity to flourish because Uganda has many natural fruits which people can add value unlike many of the traditional wine producing countries which thrive on grapes alone.

According to him, so far, USSIA has a database of more than 200 registered wineries across Uganda and they are using local fruits to make organic wine which is on demand.

“We had wine made from paw-paw, mushrooms, pineapples, passion fruit, oranges and the wine consumption culture is beginning to pick up in Uganda because the middleclass is growing and people are informed and exposed,” he said.

Fear for taxation
Last December, the wine manufacturers held a Ugandan Wine expo which brought together 35 producers some of whom had been operating in oblivion.

Among those interviewed, they named Uganda Revenue Authority as their fear in business because of the taxation once they are known.