LR: ES DIBAN, Mr John Ichue, CEO Intercontinental Distillers, Chief Engr Patrick Anegbe, Director General of MAN, Mr Segun Ajayi-Kadir,mni, CEO Stellar Beverage, Gandhi Anandan and CEO Grand Oak Industries, Mr Wale Majaolagbe at the Press Conference held by MAN to challenge the BAN on Production of Alcoholic Beverages in sachets and less than 200ml pet bottles by NAFDAC at MAN House Ikeja Lagos Today Friday February 9, 2024.
In a strongly worded press conference held at the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) house, today, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, the Director-General, expressed deep concern over the recent directive from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to enforce a ban on the production of alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles of less than 200ml. Addressing the media gathering, which included members of the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), Mr. Ajayi-Kadir highlighted the detrimental effects of the ban on manufacturers, workers, citizens, and the economy at large.
Also speaking during the press conference is the Executive Secretary of the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), Mr. John Ichue, who took center stage to address the industry’s stance on the recent ban imposed on sachet alcohol and PET plastic bottles.
As the spokesperson for DIBAN, Mr. Ichue conveyed the deep concerns and reservations of the association regarding the ban enforced by regulatory agencies. With a composed demeanor and a firm resolve, he articulated the association’s position with clarity and conviction.
Mr. Ichue highlighted the substantial investments made by DIBAN members in the production, distribution, and marketing of alcoholic beverages packaged in sachets and PET bottles. These investments, he stressed, have contributed immensely to job creation and economic growth in Nigeria.
He emphasized the association’s commitment to collaborative efforts aimed at curbing underage drinking and promoting responsible alcohol consumption practices.
Furthermore, Mr. Ichue expressed DIBAN’s disappointment with the unilateral decision to ban sachet alcohol and PET plastic bottles without adequate consultation or consideration of alternative solutions. He emphasized the need for a more holistic approach that takes into account the interests of all stakeholders, including manufacturers, consumers, and regulatory bodies.
In his address, Mr. Ichue outlined several key proposals put forth by DIBAN to address the underlying concerns raised by regulatory agencies while safeguarding the interests of the industry. These proposals included the implementation of stricter access controls, enhanced regulatory oversight, and collaborative initiatives to promote responsible alcohol consumption.
Mr. John Ichue reaffirmed DIBAN’s unwavering commitment to upholding industry best practices and promoting responsible alcohol consumption. He called for continued engagement and collaboration between all stakeholders to address the challenges posed by the ban on sachet alcohol and PET plastic bottles, ensuring a mutually beneficial outcome for the industry and the nation as a whole.
Recalling the timeline of events, Mr. Ajayi-Kadir emphasized that NAFDAC’s concerns date back to 2018, prompting collaborative efforts between regulatory agencies and industry stakeholders. Despite the industry’s commitment to responsible alcohol consumption, demonstrated through substantial investments in awareness campaigns and adherence to regulatory guidelines, NAFDAC’s insistence on a ban remained troubling.
Citing an independent research report commissioned by NAFDAC, which recommended access control measures instead of an outright ban, Mr. Ajayi-Kadir urged the government to reconsider its stance. He underscored the adverse impact of the ban on local investors who have contributed significantly to the Nigerian economy, creating jobs and sustaining livelihoods amidst challenges.
While another Stakeholders Chief Executive Officer of Intercontinental Distillers Limited, Chief Engr. Patrick Anegbe, toed the line with formidable voice challenging the recent ban imposed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on the production of alcoholic beverages packaged in sachets and PET bottles less than 200ml.
Mr Anegbe highlighted the significant investments made by Intercontinental Distillers Limited and other industry players in infrastructure, technology, and human capital to meet the demand for alcoholic beverages packaged in sachets and PET bottles.
Chief Anegbe underscored the importance of collaborative efforts between regulatory agencies and industry stakeholders to address the underlying concerns related to alcohol consumption, particularly among underage individuals.
Throughout his address, Chief Anegbe presented compelling arguments against the ban, citing the potential loss of jobs, revenue, and market share for local distillers. He stressed the need for evidence-based policymaking and urged NAFDAC to reconsider its decision in light of the industry’s proactive measures to promote responsible alcohol consumption and curb underage drinking.
Furthermore, Chief Anegbe outlined a series of alternative solutions proposed by Intercontinental Distillers Limited, including enhanced access controls, stricter regulatory oversight, and targeted awareness campaigns to promote responsible drinking practices.
In his closing remarks, Chief Anegbe reiterated his commitment to fostering constructive dialogue and collaboration with regulatory authorities to find mutually beneficial solutions that balance public health concerns with the economic interests of the industry.
Asserting the need for evidence-based policymaking, Mr. Ajayi-Kadir proposed alternative measures such as licensing liquor stores, implementing age verification protocols, and enhancing enforcement mechanisms to ensure product quality and safety. He called for collaborative efforts to combat underage drinking and the circulation of counterfeit alcoholic beverages.
The third operators in the affected industry, Mr. Gandhi Anandan, CEO of Stellar Beverage, expressed grave concerns regarding the recent ban imposed by NAFDAC on alcoholic beverages packaged in sachets and PET bottles less than 200ml.
He highlighted the adverse impact of the ban on the operations and financial viability of Stellar Beverage, emphasizing the substantial investments made in manufacturing infrastructure and distribution networks.
Mr. Anandan stressed the need for evidence-based policymaking and urged NAFDAC to reconsider its decision, advocating for alternative measures to address underage drinking and promote responsible alcohol consumption.
He called for constructive dialogue between industry stakeholders and regulatory authorities to find sustainable solutions that balance public health considerations with the economic interests of the beverage industry.
The last speaker during the press conference, Mr. Wale Majaolagbe, CEO of Grand Oak Industries, echoed the sentiments expressed by his industry peers regarding NAFDAC’s ban on sachet and PET bottled alcoholic beverages.
He emphasized the detrimental effects of the ban on local distilleries, highlighting the potential loss of jobs, revenue, and market share for the industry.
Mr. Majaolagbe underscored the importance of collaborative efforts between government agencies and industry stakeholders to address the root causes of alcohol abuse and underage drinking.
He proposed alternative solutions, such as enhanced access controls and stricter enforcement of existing regulations, as more effective measures to curb irresponsible alcohol consumption while preserving the economic sustainability of the beverage industry.
Overall, both CEOs emphasized the urgent need for a balanced approach to alcohol regulation that prioritizes public health concerns without unduly burdening the beverage industry. They called for NAFDAC to engage in meaningful dialogue with industry stakeholders to chart a path forward that addresses societal concerns while safeguarding the interests of businesses and workers in the sector.
In final conclusion, Mr. Ajayi-Kadir, the host urged the government to reverse the ban and engage stakeholders in meaningful dialogue to formulate effective regulatory frameworks. He reiterated the MAN’s commitment to promoting responsible business practices and safeguarding the interests of its members and the Nigerian economy.
The key industry players agreed to contribute their insights and recommendations as it highlighted above towards resolving the contentious issue.