The Ugandan government has announced plans to raise the minimum legal drinking age from 18 to 21. The proposed change is expected to come into effect soon with the aim of curbing alcohol abuse amongst young people.
A recent survey showed that underage drinking is a growing concern in the country, with many teenagers binge drinking and engaging in risky behaviours.
“We want to reduce on the number of people who are going to buy. We want to raise the age from 18 to 21,” the Daily Monitor newspaper over the weekend quoted Uganda’s Commissioner for Mental Health, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Dr Hafsa Lukwata as saying.
According to the World Health Statistics 2023 Report, Uganda is among the leading countries for high rates of alcohol consumption.
The report by the World Health Organisation estimates that Ugandans currently consume 12.2 litres of alcohol per person annually, higher than the global average.
The government hopes that increasing the age limit will help to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents and contribute to a healthier and safer society.
However, some critics have raised concerns that the move may lead to more young people drinking illegally and that it may not solve the issue of alcohol abuse.