NAFDAC Ban on Satchet, Small PET Bottle Alcoholic Drinks Violates Private Investors’ Rights – MAN

Director-General M.A.N, Segun Ajayi-Kadir

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has asked the Federal Government to concentrate on access control rather than outright ban on small PET Bottle and Satchet alcoholic drinks in Nigeria.

Director General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir who made the call in Lagos recently at press conference expressed the Association’s deep concerned over the ban imposed on spirit drinks in sachets and PET bottles less than 200ml.

He noted that adequate consideration was not given to the impact such move will have on the manufacturers, the workers, the citizenry and the national economy.

Ajayi-Kadir said strategic moves were made in the past to identify factors leading to irresponsible and underage consumption of alcoholic beverages.

According to the MAN scribe NAFDAC, as part of getting the true position on the matter engaged an independent research Agency – Research Data Solution Limited and the Agency submitted its report to NAFDAC on August 20, 2021.

“The report recommended Access Control by the regulator rather than outright ban; given the fact that only 3.9% of underage are engaged in binge drinking.

“This therefore confirms the fact that involvement of underage in alcoholic consumption is low and could, with additional efforts, be eradicated. This is an objective our members are irrevocably committed to.

“Despite the show of corporate responsibility and proactive support by the players to eliminate the root cause of the issue, the Association is perturbed at the apparent preoccupation of NAFDAC to ban the production of drinks in sachets and PET bottles by 2024.

“This is at variance with the right of private entrepreneurs to invest and engage in legitimate business.

“Besides and more importantly, the proposed policy would amount to unnecessary and avoidable debilitation of the business of local and indigenous investors who through thick and thin have kept faith with the Nigerian Economy.” Ajayi-Kadir said.

He urged NAFDAC to allow due process of full legislative hearings by the appropriate House Committee to take place, so that relevant stakeholders can engage and the public will know the factual, expert and well-informed opinions.

“We are convinced that this present administration‘s Renewed Hope Agenda will not be best served with this ban.

“If the administration is committed to encouraging and strengthening local investors, then this ban should give way to access control.

“Also, the Ministerial Technical Committee should be allowed to complete its work. It is important to know that the industries have invested hundreds of billions of naira not only in the business, but overtime, in packaging and distribution.

“Most of the huge investments are backed by enormous indebtedness to both foreign and local financial institutions.

“It should also be borne in mind that prior to the investment made by the companies, in the packaging, distribution, logistics and advertisement of their products, the necessary approval were obtained thus prompting them to make the said investments.” He stated.

He further noted that to proceed with the policy based on perceived danger, without empirical information and not minding the consequences, is unfair to the industry operators, the thousands of workers that will lose their jobs and inimical to Nigerian economy.

“SMALL is good, if you buy small you will consume small. If you buy big you will consume big, this is not HEALTHY. Bigger sizes encourage consumption of bigger portions, while small sizes encourage portion control.

“If you take away small sizes, you are encouraging excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.” Ajayi-Kadir pointed out.

He called on the government to among other things, intensify its activities and support in the form of access control and tighter regulations rather than ban which he considers counterproductive.

The MAN scribe also called for immediate reversal of the ban and replacement with regulations and access control such as: establishment of licensed liquor stores/outlets by LGAs across the country…

Demand of I.D from suspected underage persons (under 18) for purchase alcoholic beverages as practiced in other countries.

Tightening of enforcement by law enforcement agencies and increased monitoring and compliance checks by NAFDAC, FCCPC and others to ensure strict product quality in terms of content and safety.

He also recommended collaborative effort to eliminate underage drinking or use of alcoholic beverages;

Better regulations backed by informed policy and restriction on sale of Alcoholic Beverages to On-license and Off-license shops and equipping ALGON to oversee the process.

Ajayi-Kadir further called for promotion and protection of the growth of local industries and jobs, tackling of fake, counterfeit, and unwholesome alcoholic beverages in the country.

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