Manufacturers contest NAFDAC’s alcohol ban on sachets, PET bottles

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Manufacturers contest NAFDAC's alcohol ban on sachets, PET bottles

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has raised concerns about the stance taken by the National Agency for Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) regarding the prohibition of the sale of alcoholic drinks in sachets and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles. In response, labor and trade unions, including the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Food and Beverages, Tobacco Senior Staff Association, and the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, staged protests at the Lagos State House of Assembly (LSHA) in Alausa.

On February 5, 2024, NAFDAC announced a ban on the production and sale of alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles of less than 200ml, citing concerns about the segmentation contributing to increased alcohol consumption among underage individuals. MAN, however, stated its Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, disputing NAFDAC’s claim, asserting that it reflects a more extensive systemic issue.

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MAN contended that NAFDAC’s position lacked a scientific foundation, pointing out that the agency or any other entity had conducted no scientific study to substantiate the claim. The association also recalled the objection raised by the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) in 2018 when NAFDAC first proposed the ban. DIBAN emphasized that packaging alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles had not been proven to cause irresponsible consumption and warned that the ban could lead to a black market, counterfeit products, and damage local manufacturing, negatively impacting the economy and social well-being.

At the entrance of the LSHA, Comrade Emmanuel Edoghe, Vice Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Lagos Chapter, emphasized the need for NAFDAC to reconsider its decision in light of the companies’ substantial investments and the people’s existing purchasing power. Edoghe urged the Lagos State House of Assembly to align its position with that of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, considering the welfare of workers and the overarching vision of Renewed Hope advocated by President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Branch Secretary of the Food, Beverages Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB), Comrade Anthony Oyagha, expressed concern over the harshness of the ban and its potential hidden motives. He pleaded with the LSHA to intervene and unlock their factories, emphasizing that the shutdown would leave workers with nowhere to turn.

Responding to the labor leaders, Deputy Majority Leader, Hon. Adedamola Kasunmu, representing the speaker, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, empathized with the protesters. He assured them of a fair and just resolution to the sensitive issues at hand, recognizing the importance of balancing public health concerns with the economic well-being of workers and manufacturers.

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