The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has faced criticism from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) for its decision to ban the sale of alcoholic drinks in sachets and Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles.
Under the aegis of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, labour and trade unions took their protests to the Lagos State House of Assembly (LSHA), Alausa on Wednesday.
On February 5, 2024, the NAFDAC announced the ban on production and sale of alcoholic beverages in sachets and less than 200ml PET bottles, citing the segmentation as the cause of rising alcohol use among the underaged.
However, in a statement signed by MAN Director General, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, the association refuted the claim by NAFDAC, stating that it is unfounded and it represents a systemic problem with broader implications from a manufacturers' perspective.
MAN also pointed out that the agency or any other entity never conducted a scientific study to substantiate the claim.
When the NAFDAC first proposed the ban in 2018, the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) stated in a letter dated 6/11/2018 that the packaging and sales of alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles has not been proven to be the cause of irresponsible use in terms of quantity, intoxication, and other issues. They also expressed concerns that the ban would lead to black market activities, the influx of fake and adulterated products, and damage to local manufacturing and the economy, as well as negatively affecting the social wellbeing of the people of Nigeria.
Comrade Emmanuel Edoghe, Vice Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Lagos Chapter, stressed the importance of NAFDAC rescinding its decision on the ban of the premium alcoholic drink and sachets, taking into account the significant investment made by the companies and the existing purchasing power of the people.
He said: “The Lagos parliament should join its voice with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to consider the wellbeing of the workers especially with the mantra of Renewed Hope of the current President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
In his speech, Comrade Anthony Oyagha, Branch Secretary of the Food, Beverages and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB), pointed out that the reason for the ban was harsh and raised suspicions about the opportunity cost.
“Our products are well refined for consumption and we beg the Lagos State House of Assembly to reach out to the relevant authorities to unlock our factory. If we leave this ground, we have nowhere to go as our factories are shutdown,” Oyagha stated.
In response to the submissions made by the Labour leaders, the Deputy Majority Leader, Honourable Adedamola Kasunmu, who represented the House speaker expressed empathy towards the protesters and guaranteed justice and fair play in addressing the sensitive issues.