While Professor Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, emphasized NAFDAC’s commitment to safeguarding public health and further emphasizing the dangers of reckless alcohol consumption, especially among vulnerable youth, responded, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director General of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) emphasized the detrimental effects of this directive on manufacturers, workers, citizens, and the economy at large
In a bold move, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has publicly accused industry stakeholders of failing to implement a crucial five-year agreement aimed at curbing the proliferation of alcohol in easily concealable packaging formats. The agreement, forged in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH), aimed to address mounting concerns over underage drinking and alcohol-related harm in Nigerian communities.
At the center of the controversy are key industry players, including the Association of Food, Beverage & Tobacco Employers (AFBTE) and the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN). Despite extensive consultations and the signing of the agreement, NAFDAC alleges that stakeholders have fallen short in their commitment to phasing out alcohol in small sachets and PET bottles.
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The ban, initially proposed to mitigate the detrimental effects of underage drinking and reduce alcohol-related harm, has faced significant setbacks in its implementation. NAFDAC emphasizes the urgency of addressing these challenges, stressing the critical role of industry compliance in safeguarding public health and safety.
The proliferation of alcohol in easily concealable packaging formats has long been a cause for concern, with small sachets and PET bottles facilitating underage access and contributing to social ills such as substance abuse and addiction. The ban was envisioned as a proactive measure to stem the tide of these issues and promote responsible alcohol consumption practices.
However, NAFDAC’s accusations highlight the complexities and hurdles involved in translating policy agreements into tangible outcomes on the ground. Despite the five-year notice period provided for implementation, stakeholders have cited logistical challenges and operational constraints as impediments to compliance.
In response to NAFDAC’s allegations, industry stakeholders led by Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director General of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), passionately addressed the detrimental effects of NAFDAC’s recent directive banning the production of alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles less than 200ml. Standing alongside members of the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) and other stakeholders, Mr. Ajayi-Kadir highlighted the grave concerns of the manufacturing sector regarding the ban’s impact on businesses, workers, and the economy at large.
He called for the implementation of tighter regulations and access control measures, such as establishing licensed liquor outlets, enforcing age verification for alcohol purchases, and enhancing compliance checks by regulatory bodies not outright ban.
Ajayi-Kadir called for transparent legislative hearings and completion of the Ministerial Technical Committee’s work to inform evidence-based policymaking.
Also the Executive Secretary of DIBAN, Mr John Ichue expressed the deep concerns and reservations of the association regarding the ban enforced by regulatory agencies.
He emphasized the significant impact of the ban on both the industry and the economy at large. He 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.
Drawing on extensive industry research and consultation, Mr. Ichue underscored the proactive measures taken by DIBAN to promote responsible consumption and address concerns raised by regulatory agencies. He emphasized the association’s commitment to collaborative efforts aimed at curbing underage drinking and promoting responsible alcohol consumption practices.
Furthermore, the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) expressed disappointment with the unilateral decision to ban sachet alcohol and PET plastic bottles without adequate consultation or consideration of alternative solutions. The spokesperson 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.
Moving forward, NAFDAC calls for enhanced collaboration and cooperation between regulatory authorities and industry stakeholders to overcome the challenges and effectively enforce the ban. With the health and well-being of Nigerian communities at stake, the need for concerted action and decisive measures to combat underage drinking and alcohol-related harm has never been more urgent.