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Alcohol in sachet: Nigeria’s govt insists on ban to protect minors

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Federal government in Nigeria has stated that it intends to fully implement the ban on alcohol in sachet and those in less than 200ml despite protest by stakeholders.

Members of Beverage, Tobacco Senior Staff Association, staged a peaceful protest at the headquarters of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC on Wednesday, saying that such action’s will create unemployment in the industry.

Recall that the regulatory agency,  NAFDAC had recently announced a ban on the production of alcohol in sachet and polyethylene terephthalate, PET, bottles less than 200 ml by January 31, 2024.

It had hinged the decision to do so on the health implications of consuming such products by Nigerians.

Some studies have shown that more minors within 14 and 15 years get hooked alcohol because such packaged alcohol are not only accessible but are also cheap.

But workers in the industry don’t want to hear of this.

As early as 7 am the union had mobilized its members and took over the entrance gate of NAFDAC, located at Zone 7, Wuse, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.

The union grouse for staging the protest was the fate of thousands of the workforce who will lose their jobs if the industry is shutdown.

Addressing members of the union at the headquarters of NAFDAC the President of AFBTE Comrade Jimoh Oyibo accused NAFDAC of not carrying out any form of consultation or engagement with stakeholders before ordering the ban.

“We are here because of what befalls our companies, once you shutdown that petty sizes, it’s as good as losing the company, so, considering the number of our workers that are affected, we said no, we can’t allow this to go.

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“Meanwhile, these are registered food  products, we didn’t just come out of the blues and decided to produce.

“If we allow it to stay, it means that thousands of people will be affected and of course, the multiplier effect is something else.

“The ban came as a surprise, we were taken unawares, there was no engagement by the NAFDAC, the officers just came and sealed off our companies,” he said.

Oyibo, instead, said that there is need for constructive engagement with all stakeholders to sit down and look at what’s possible”.

But NAFDAC has insisted it did not ban alcohol production in bigger bottles.

NAFDAC’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, explained that the agency only banned alcohol in containers or packing that a child can easily conceal, i.e., sachet or PET bottles less than 200ml.

The food and drug agency said that the recent decision is in keeping with international treaty signed  by government to curb harmful substances to protect minors.

“The Association of Food, Beverage & Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) and Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) signed an agreement with MOH (Ministry of Health) and NAFDAC and FCCPC in 2018 December that they will phase out production of alcohol in sachet and PET bottles less than 200 ml by January 31, 2024.

“The agreement document is available.

” A five year phase out notice should be sufficient.

“Nigeria was one of the 193 Member States of WHO that reached an historical consensus on a global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol by adopted resolution WHA63.13 at the Sixty-third session of the World Health Assembly, held in Geneva in 2010.

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“This was seven years before my time, an agreement signed by Nigeria with other nations that we will protect youth by making alcohol not easily reachable and accessible,” Akintola said.

Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, according to DDM’s findings have implemented this ban on alcohol in sachets.


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