Manufacturers challenge NAFDAC over ban on alcohol in sachets, PET bottles

Thursday, February 8, 2024 –The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has picked holes in the position of the National Agency for Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) over the ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks in sachets and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles.

Meanwhile, labour and trade unions under the aegis of Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Food and Beverages, Tobacco Senior Staff Association Manufacturers Association of Nigeria took their protests to the Lagos State House of Assembly (LSHA), Alausa yesterday.

Recall that the NAFDAC had, on February 5, 2024 announced the ban on production and sale of alcoholic beverages in sachets and less than 200ml PET bottles, alleging that the segmentation is responsible for rising alcohol use among the underage.

But MAN, in a statement signed by its Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, yesterday said the claim by NAFDAC was unfounded, adding that the manufacturers’ view was that it is a reflection of a systemic problem of much wider ramifications.

MAN also noted that no scientific study was ever carried out by the agency or any other entity to establish the claim.

It also said when the NAFDAC first proposed the ban in 2018, the members of the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), in a letter dated 6/11/2018, stated: “That packaging and sales of alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles has not been shown to be the reason for irresponsible use in terms of quantity, intoxication and other menaces; That this ban will certainly lead to black market or bootlegging, influx and proliferation of fake and adulterated products; and it will also damage local manufacturing and negatively affect the economy, as well as the social wellbeing of the people of Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, Speaking at the entrance to the LSHA, Vice Chairman, Trade Union Congress, Lagos Chapter, Comrade Emmanuel Edoghe, reiterated the need for NAFDAC to rescind its decision on the ban of the premium alcoholic drink and sachets considering the huge investment made by the companies and the existing purchasing power of the people.

He said: “The Lagos parliament should join its voice with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to consider the wellbeing of the workers especially with the mantra of Renewed Hope of the current President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

Comrade Anthony Oyagha, Branch Secretary,  Food, Beverages Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) in his speech stated that the reason for the ban was harsh and could be suspicious going by the opportunity cost.

“Our products are well refined for consumption and we beg the Lagos State House of Assembly to reach out to the relevant authorities to unlock our factory. If we leave this ground, we have nowhere to go as our factories are shutdown,” Oyagha stated.

Responding to the submissions made by the Labour leaders, the Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Adedamola Kasunmu, who represented the speaker, LSHA, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, empathised with the protesters and assured them of justice and fair play in handling the sensitive issues.

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