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Manufacturers urge government to lift ban on sachet alcoholic drinks

Calls for economic considerations amid ongoing debate over policy

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has reiterated its appeal to the Federal Government to lift the ban on sachet alcoholic drinks, arguing that the move is essential to prevent job losses and sustain the country’s distillers.

Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director-General of MAN, highlighted the economic repercussions of the ban in a statement to The PUNCH on Wednesday. He stressed the need for a reversal of the ban to protect employment and maintain the viability of local distilleries.

However, the Director-General of the National Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Adeyeye, affirmed that the ban remains in effect. This follows the House Committee on NAFDAC’s June 15 conclusion that the ban, initially enforced on February 1, 2024, was “untimely given the current economic realities.” Despite this, Adeyeye, speaking in a virtual meeting, emphasized that the ban is a ministerial directive awaiting response from the Minister of Health.

Ajayi-Kadir expressed appreciation for the Federal House of Representatives and NAFDAC’s review of the ban but maintained MAN’s stance against it. He voiced optimism that ongoing discussions would ultimately lead to the ban’s termination, which he deemed crucial for job preservation, industry stability, and economic health.

“We have shown scientifically that the ban is not the best option, particularly for the packaging of alcoholic beverages,” Ajayi-Kadir stated. He advocated for education, restricted access, and continuous engagement to ensure responsible consumption by adults.

Addressing NAFDAC’s position, Ajayi-Kadir asserted that the concerns of the health ministry and NAFDAC are being addressed significantly by the industry. He assured that industry players are committed to limiting underage access to sachet alcoholic drinks and promoting responsible consumption, similar to practices in other countries.

Ajayi-Kadir urged NAFDAC to reconsider the broader consequences of the ban on the alcoholic beverages industry and its workforce. He remained hopeful that a balanced and judicious decision would prevail, benefiting the Nigerian economy.

NAFDAC had previously justified the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet and PET bottle alcoholic beverages as a measure to combat youth drug abuse.

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