The minister of state for investment Evelyn Anite has said that the government will waive Value Added Tax and Excise Duty on manufacturers’ operations after they agreed to turn part of their liquor stock into sanitizers.

Anite, who met the manufacturers on Monday morning in Kampala, said they had agreed to change strategy to now converting the 7.3 million liters of alcohol into sanitizers to bridge the shortage.

She said that the exemption is strictly certified companies.

Currently, there are only two certified companies: Saraya and Go hi-tech to make sanitizers. As of Monday morning, 48 companies had applied for certification to make sanitizers.  The minister didn’t reveal the companies that have applied to manufacture sanitizers.

It will take Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) between 4-7 days to certify these companies, Anite said. UMA chairman Barbara Mulwana and UNBS Executive Director Ben Manyindo attended the meeting.

Anite says “in order to deal with the shortage and exorbitant increment of hand sanitizers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, alcohol and spirit manufacturers will get government support through VAT and excise duty waivers to enable them to maximize production.”

The minister said during the meeting with the spirit manufacturers, UNBS and National Drug Authority pledged to fast-track the registration of quality hand sanitizers “but also assured of increased surveillance across the country to ensure fake sanitizers are not released onto the market.”

The demand for hand sanitizers went up as the countries pushed to control the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The prices jumped from 25,000 to more than 120,000 Shillings.

More than 343,000 cases have been confirmed globally and at least 650 coming from Africa. Some 99,000 people have recovered. Uganda has since reported one case of Covid-19 of a Ugandan who jetted in from Dubai last week.

Ugandans have also been advised to wash their hands using soap and stay away from congested places where possible.

On Sunday, President Yoweri Museveni said Ugandans should also minimize the use of public transport to curb the spread of COVID 19. He also urged all Ugandans to avoid all forms of greetings, including elbow greeting and shaking hands.

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