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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

House of Representatives urges NAFDAC to reconsider ban on sachet alcoholic beverages and pet bottles

Lawmakers Emphasize Economic Impact and Regulatory Alternatives Amidst Controversy

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In a decisive stance on Wednesday, the House of Representatives intensified pressure on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), urging the regulatory body to uphold its resolution and rescind the ban on sachet alcoholic beverages and pet bottles.

Chairing a news conference in Abuja, Mrs Regina Akume, Chairperson of the House Committee on NAFDAC, underscored the imperative of revisiting the ban, citing its adverse ramifications amidst prevailing economic challenges in the country.

The House’s call for action, issued on March 14, 2024, was prompted by fervent appeals from distillers, who warned of dire consequences, including mass layoffs and substantial financial losses amounting to N800 billion. According to Akume, the timing of the ban is especially precarious given the nation’s economic fragility, characterized by soaring unemployment, inflation, and foreign exchange constraints.

Addressing reporters, Akume, a member of the All Progressives Congress, advocated for a nuanced approach centered on stringent regulatory measures rather than outright prohibition. Emphasizing the need for NAFDAC to enforce robust access controls and compliance protocols, she proposed the establishment of licensed liquor outlets across local government areas to curtail underage access to alcoholic beverages.

Furthermore, Akume stressed the importance of bolstering monitoring and quality assurance mechanisms to safeguard consumer health and product integrity. Notably, she urged NAFDAC to explore sustainable solutions such as recycling initiatives to mitigate reliance on imported raw materials, thereby conserving foreign exchange reserves and advancing environmental sustainability goals.

The House’s vocal opposition to the ban aligns with broader concerns over its compatibility with constitutional principles and the economic recovery agenda championed by the Bola Tinubu-led administration. By amplifying calls for regulatory flexibility and collaborative solutions, lawmakers aim to navigate the delicate balance between public health imperatives and economic viability, setting the stage for constructive dialogue and policy refinement.

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