The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has disputed assertions by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control that the decision to implement a ban on small packet alcoholic beverages was made jointly.
At a media briefing in Lagos this Friday, the Managing Director of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Segun Ajayi-Kadir, maintained that the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria, a sub-group within MAN, has consistently shared their concerns about the proposed execution of the prohibition.
In a statement issued last Thursday, NAFDAC firmly maintained that the prohibition on alcoholic drinks sold in sachets, as well as in PET and glass bottles smaller than 200ml, was the outcome of a joint decision.
The head of NAFDAC, Mojisola Adeyeye, stated that the prohibition resulted from a joint suggestion by a group, which included members from the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC itself, and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
She emphasized the need to make it clear that the decision to prohibit the sale of alcohol in small sachets and tiny PET and glass bottles was not a rushed one, stating that the plan falls under a five-year strategy to gradually eliminate the specified types of alcoholic drinks, beginning in January 2019 and culminating on January 31, 2024.
Ajayi-Kadir refuted the regulator's assertion that the decision had been made jointly.
The Director-General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria reported that even though the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria initially had reservations about how quickly the ban was implemented, they were involved in drafting an agreement. On December 18, 2018, this agreement, known as a Memorandum of Understanding, was signed with some hesitation.
The parties to the memorandum included the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Consumer Protection Commission (which is now known as the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission), the Association of Food, Beverages, and Tobacco Employers, and DIBAN, aiming to tackle the issues that were brought up back then.
He stated that the objective was to educate the populace about conscientious consumption habits, collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and NAFDAC to carry out campaigns, convey information, provide training, and teach the community.
Ajayi-Kadir stated that adequate attention was not paid to the consequences the prohibition would have on producers, employees, the general public, and the economic landscape.
He argued that the restriction, aimed at reducing reckless drinking, would ultimately have the opposite effect since larger packaging promotes the intake of larger amounts, whereas smaller packaging supports the management of serving sizes.
He suggested that instead of prohibiting items in the designated group, NAFDAC ought to step up its efforts and provide assistance through the implementation of stricter oversight and regulatory measures.
He stated, "The prohibition will cause unnecessary destruction, and it needs to be made clear that consuming alcohol in moderation and with responsibility can be beneficial for one's health. Embracing the principle that 'less is more,' purchasing in smaller quantities naturally leads to lesser consumption."
"Purchasing large quantities leads to increased consumption, which isn't good for your health. Larger packaging tends to promote eating or drinking more, whereas smaller packaging helps with managing intake. By eliminating the option for small sizes, you're promoting the overindulgence in alcohol."