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House of Reps launches probe into NAFDAC’s sachet alcohol ban

Controversy Surrounds Decision as Trade Unions and Legislators Question Economic Impact

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The House of Representatives of Nigeria has initiated a probe into the recent ban imposed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on the production of beverages in sachets and small bottles, following a motion presented during Tuesday’s parliamentary session.

The motion, introduced by Paschal Agbese, prompted the House to direct its committee on NAFDAC to investigate the circumstances surrounding the ban, which has sparked significant controversy across the nation.

Expressing dissatisfaction with NAFDAC’s decision, the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DBAN) announced plans to stage a protest at the National Assembly, highlighting concerns over the ban’s potential economic repercussions.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General of NAFDAC, announced the ban on Monday, citing concerns over the consumption of alcoholic beverages in small sachets and bottles of 200ml and below. The move has drawn criticism from industry stakeholders, including the Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association and the National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employees, who argue that it could result in the loss of over 500,000 jobs.

The DBAN’s protest at the Lagos office of NAFDAC and subsequent demonstration at the Lagos State House of Assembly underscored the growing discontent among industry workers and trade unions over the ban’s potential impact on livelihoods.

During Wednesday’s parliamentary debate, Agbodike emphasized the constitutional authority of the National Assembly to investigate matters of national significance, particularly those with far-reaching economic implications. He expressed concern that the ban contradicted the country’s Economic Recovery Plan and could exacerbate existing poverty levels.

Agbodike highlighted the critical role of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria’s economy, emphasizing that the ban could encourage illicit production practices and exacerbate unemployment rates.

The motion, now referred to the Committee on NAFDAC, signifies the legislature’s commitment to addressing concerns raised by industry stakeholders and examining the ban’s potential effects on Nigeria’s economic landscape.

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