Reps Investigate Nafdacs Ban On Small Scale Alcohol Production1

Reps Investigate NAFDAC’s Ban on Small-Scale Alcohol Production

The House of Representatives has tasked its committee on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to investigate the ban on producing beverages in sachets and small bottles. This directive followed a motion by Paschal Agbese during Wednesday’s plenary. Concurrently, the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DBAN) informed The PUNCH of its intention to protest against the ban at the National Assembly.

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NAFDAC’s Director General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, announced on Monday the enforcement of a ban on importing, manufacturing, distributing, selling, and consuming alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below. This announcement led to a protest by DBAN members at NAFDAC’s Lagos office on Tuesday, expressing their opposition to the ban.

The Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association and the National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employees also rejected, arguing the ban would jeopardize over 500,000 jobs, pushing breadwinners into Nigeria’s already saturated labour market. Their protest extended to the Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday. Emmanuel Edoghe, Vice Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Lagos Chapter, called for NAFDAC to reconsider its decision. He highlighted the contradiction in NAFDAC’s actions, from licensing the production of these beverages to suddenly imposing a ban without considering the economic strain on the public.

During the House of Representatives debate, Agbbodike emphasized that the ban contradicts the Nigerian Constitution and the current administration’s Economic Recovery Plan. He expressed concern over the potential job losses and the negative impact on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which constitute the largest employment sector in Nigeria. Agbbodike warned that the ban might lead to the unregulated production of alcoholic beverages, exacerbating poverty in the country. The motion was referred to the Committee on NAFDAC for further legislative action.

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Editorial:

The recent move by NAFDAC to ban the production and sale of alcoholic beverages in sachets and small bottles has sparked a significant debate, reflecting the tension between public health initiatives and economic realities. As we delve into this issue, it’s crucial to recognize the delicate balance between safeguarding public health and sustaining the livelihoods of millions.

The protests by the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria and the subsequent involvement of the House of Representatives underscore a critical dialogue about governance, regulation, and the welfare of the Nigerian populace. The concerns raised by various stakeholders about job losses and the survival of SMEs are not just economic statistics; they represent the lives and futures of countless Nigerians.

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We advocate for a nuanced approach that considers the socio-economic implications of such bans. Regulatory bodies like NAFDAC must engage with industry stakeholders to find a middle ground that addresses public health concerns without undermining economic stability. Due to this ban, the potential for unregulated production highlights the need for comprehensive policies that ensure safety without stifling innovation and employment.

As we stand in solidarity with those affected by this ban, we call upon the government and NAFDAC to prioritize dialogue and collaboration. Let this moment be a catalyst for policies that are both progressive and empathetic, ensuring that the path to public health does not lead to economic hardship.

Did You Know?

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  • Nigeria is Africa’s largest alcohol producer, with a significant portion comprising locally produced beverages.
  • Sachet alcohol, due to its affordability and accessibility, plays a crucial role in the alcohol consumption patterns in Nigeria.
  • SMEs contribute significantly to Nigeria’s GDP, employing most workforce across various sectors.
  • Regulatory policies in Nigeria often face challenges related to enforcement, compliance, and unintended economic consequences.
  • Public health campaigns in Nigeria have increasingly focused on addressing issues related to alcohol consumption, aiming to balance cultural practices with health considerations.

Author

  • Nissi Nwaozuzu

    Nissi Nwaozuzu is a woman with many talents. She loves writing, reading, knitting, sewing, and drawing. She also plays the guitar and sings beautifully. Mixed martial arts are one of her passions as well! Email: nissi.nwaozuzu@yohaig.ng

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