URA commits to fight supply of illicit alcohol

Mr Rujoki says it is sad for companies that contribute to government revenue, to lose out to products with no legal standing. Photo / File   

What you need to know:

  • According to Mr John Rujoki, it is unfair for companies that invest a lot of resources in the beverage and alcohol sector to lose billions of shillings to illicit products.

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) commissioner general John Rujoki, has said it is unfair for companies that invest a lot of resources in the beverage and alcohol sector to lose billions of shillings to illicit products.

Speaking at the launch of Uganda Breweries’ Shs17b empties hardstand and beer membrane filtration plant in Kampala, Mr Rujoki said it is sad for companies that contribute to government revenue, to lose out to products with no legal standing.  

“I saw the returns, and when I asked I was told the so many crates with intact products couldn’t be consumed because there is so much illicit alcohol out there. This is sad ...  we will do our part in tackling this problem of illicit alcohol in the market,” he said. 

The Uganda Breweries plat has capacity to handle a full goods storage of 7,294 pallets, empties storage of 8,171 pallets, a forklift handling capacity of 7,350 cases per day, and a capacity to handle 132 trucks per day.  It also comes with a cost-saving of £560,000 per annum. 

However, for such investment to make sense, Uganda Breweries said, there is need curb the supply of illicit alcohol, which makes competition difficult. 

Data from the Euromonitor Illicit Alcohol Trade report 2020 indicates that illicit alcohol, which is neither registered nor certified,  accounts for 65 per cent of alcohol on the market. 

The report indicates that at least 987,905 litres out of the total industry size of 1.53 million litres consumed between 2017 and 2020, were illicit. 

The report values illicit alcohol in Uganda at Shs2 trillion with an annual growth of 9.1 percent while the value to lost taxable revenue stands at $458m (Shs17.3b).

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