Ugandans Swimming In Illicit Booze
Uganda loses US$172m about Shs616bn taxes every year in uncollected taxes accruing to the production and trade in illicit alcohol.
According to a study released by Euromonitor International on the Alcohol Beverage Market in Uganda 2015, Uganda is a market dominated by illegitimate alcohol brewed by unregulated and undocumented brewers who don’t pay any taxes to the government.
Uganda has a population of 39 million people, many of whom live in rural areas where many of these small scale brewers and distilleries operate away from any government regulation.
“Illicit alcohol production is larger than legal production in both volume and value terms,” Onapito Ekomoloit, Corporate Affairs Director, Nile Breweries told the business week.
The study released by Euromonitor International indicates that Uganda has a total alcohol market volume of 110, 647,900 litres of which the total market volume for licit/legitimate alcohol stands at 43,020,300 litres while 67,627,600 litres of illicit alcohol accounts for the total market volume of alcohol in the country.
63% of spirits of the total market volume of alcohol on the Ugandan market is illicit, only 37% of the total market volume of spirits is legitimate. While 79% of wine/fruit wine is legitimate, 21% of wine/fruit wine is illicit, and whereas 6% of opaque beer is legitimate, 94% opaque beer is illicit. Therefore, illicit spirits and powered opaque beer volumes are larger than legal production.
Similarly, the total licit alcohol market value in Uganda stands at US$2,126m about Shs7.6trillion while the total illicit market value of alcohol US$676m about 2.4 trillion.