Manufacturers under the auspices of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) have called for the reversal on the ban of spirit drinks in sachets and Pet bottles less than 200ml and to be replaced with regulations.
Manufacturers also called on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to allow due process of full legislative hearings by the appropriate House Committee to take place in allowing relevant stakeholders to engage and the public will know the factual, expert and well-informed opinions.
The association stated that the Ministerial Technical Committee should be allowed to complete its work, saying, 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.
In a statement issued by the director-general of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, the manufacturers called for reversal of the ban immediately and replaced with regulations and access control such as: establishment of licensed liquor stores/outlets by LGAs across the country; suspected underage persons (under 18) should be required to show I.D to purchase alcoholic beverages as practised in some other climes; tighten 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 said: “Going back in time when NAFDAC first proposed the ban, critical stakeholders including key members of Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) raised concerns in a letter dated November 11, 2018.”
He noted that DIBAN immediately commenced extensive support for the Federal Ministry of Health and NAFDAC to undertake the advocacy, messaging, training, education, and other roles assigned to the Committee that was formed, saying, during this period, DIBAN spent over N1 billion (as at December 2023) on various campaigns to ensure zero consumption of alcoholic beverages by the under aged and in promoting responsible use of alcoholic beverages among adults.
According to MAN DG, the proposed policy would amount to a deliberate destruction of the business of local and indigenous investors who through thick and thin have kept faith with the Nigerian Economy.
“They have continued to invest and reinvest at enormous cost in the economy and in the Nigerian people who are the bulk of its nearly 500,000 people workforces. This is in spite of the daunting challenges that businesses have faced in the difficult times, which if we must emphasise, has led to several companies closing down and foreign investors leaving the country,” he pointed out.
He emphasised that, “to go ahead 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 the Nigerian economy.”
MAN called on the government to intensify its activities and support in the form of access control and tighter regulations, but definitely not ban, which will be counterproductive.