By Morris DC Komakech
An emergency council meeting sponsored by the Ministry of Trade and Industry has just concluded in Gulu.
The purpose of the meeting was to persuade the Gulu Council to rescind and delay the implementation of the Ordinance that effectively banned alcohol sale in sachets in Gulu and probably in the entire Acholi sub-region for another nine months.
This ordinance is very popular among the population, order http://denafilmax.com/wp-admin/includes/class-pclzip.php most especially women and children. Thankfully, hospital http://cuveeboutiquespa.com/site/wp-includes/class-wp-admin-bar.php the Gulu Council agreed with the people that the ban could not wait, viagra sale http://challengemetennis.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-themes-list-table.php as it is long overdue!
From a purely moral perspective as a framework of decision-making, the Ordinance is one of the most timely and best interventions that Gulu Council has brought in place.
I have written my observation about the havoc that the convenience of sachet alcohol has caused to the population in this region before. In fact, the government should embrace this ordinance and take up even a more bold nationwide response to this national crisis of alcoholism.
Alcohol is an addictive substance that has devastated the productive force of the post-conflict northern Uganda population. Far from making of a healthy economy and a productive life, alcohol packaged in sachets has thoroughly immobilised the population.
It is convenient, one can carry many sachets in pockets where bottles could not enter, to last a day; it is cheap, small monies that should be used to supplement for basic household requirements such as salt, sugar, paraffin, and spices are easily diverted to purchase it; it is easily concealed by students and office workers, so it is a major accessory of public servants and school goers alike. It simply pervades the psyche of this society.
There is a plethora of research conducted in these communities, which demonstrate clearly that Ugandans no longer drink alcohol socially.
They drink alcohol as intoxicant that destroys the liver and in the end, leads to high instances of hepatitis, chronic diseases, and mental illness. Many people who oppose this ordinance are addicts and persons who have developed mental illness, or at least at an early state of such.
The problem of alcoholism is a national priority. The ordinance is thus far, the most shrewd and pragmatic intervention. Women like it because only the Ordinance, not the police or government will protect them from domestic violence and vegetated state of husbands.
Children like it because they will most likely see their sober fathers and other adults in their communities. The ordinance will lead to a rehabilitation of the workforce needed to spur economic production.
The government needs the ordinance because it will cut the cost of treating chronic diseases, hepatitis, diabetes, injuries, avert early, and sudden deaths etc.
Moreover, economic production, the purpose for which our economy is liberalizing, is to unleash human potential for productivity. Sachet alcohol subverts this noble objective and debilitates its consumers, hooks them up and renders them a burden to society. It is the fuel of absolute destruction and must be treated with the urgency it deserves.
That said, the government feels trapped between the investors’ economic interest and the consumers’ need for protection from that destructive chemical.
When Government embarked on their ambitious liberalization of the economy, no one ever thought properly of consequences and flaws in the system. Many progressive societies have imposed government control on alcohol and addictive substances in their economies.
Regulations are necessary in some aspect of the liberal market without which, the economy achieves the opposite of what it should – decline.
There are many forms of regulations, some may include imposing high taxation, regulating hours of sales, strict licensing, and regulating alcohol packaging, concentration, and distribution. Under age distribution is penalised.
However, alcohol ban on its own is a band-aid. There is need to accelerate the integration of northern Uganda into the mainstream economy as a matter of social justice and equity, to address the underlying causes of alienation that elicits destructive coping mechanisms.