Uganda: Bottled Water Policy Coming Soon

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Paschal B. Bagonza
May 18, 2012

Users of bottled water products in Uganda will soon be saved from consuming substandard products.

This is because the ministry of trade, industry and cooperatives has started a process of formulating a policy to regulate the bottled water industry according to the minister of trade, industry and cooperatives Amelia Kyambadde.

Kyambadde was speaking during her tour of Rwenzori Bottling Company.

She lamented that Uganda has a booming water industry which is under threat by increasing “underground businesses that manufacture fake and substandard products.”

There are about forty registered water bottling companies in Uganda

There are about forty registered water bottling companies in Uganda, with others operating underground. As of last year, the Uganda National Bureau of Standards had certified twenty seven water bottlers.

Sometimes, suspect substandard packed water is sold in polythene packages and plastic bottles, putting the lives of consumers at risk.

Some of these bottled water products are exported to Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Tanzania and Rwanda. Most clients of water products are found in urban and semi urban areas of Uganda.

The managing director of Rwenzori Bottling Company, Kirowi Suman says the government was losing revenue because there is no regulatory policy in the country to guide the industry.

Suman noted that if the bottled water products industry was regulated, the government would collect taxes of about Shs 2 billion Ugandan shillings which is being avoided by unregistered manufacturers.

Rwenzori Bottling Company spokesperson Sumin Namaganda said much as their company paid 65% of tax revenue collected from all bottled water companies, the government could have collected Shs 11.3 billion from all sector players, if the industry was well regulated.

80% of diseases in developing countries are caused by contaminated water.

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