House of Representatives has mandated its Committee on National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to investigate the basis and circumstances surrounding the ban imposed on the production of alcoholic beverages in sachets and small bottles in Nigeria by the agency.
This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Paschal Agbodike and Hon. Philip Agbese on: “Need to Suspend the Ban Imposed by NAFDAC on the Production of Beverages in Sachets and Small Bottles in Nigeria” at the plenary yesterday.
Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association and National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employee NUFBTE on Tuesday held protests in Lagos calling on the Federal Government to save over 500,000 Nigerians who would face job loss as a result of the phase out of production, sale and consumption of alcohol in sachets and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles.
Moving the motion Hon. Agbodike recalled that NAFDAC had announced its decision to stop the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles in January 2024 when the Director-General of the Agency informed the public that the agency will ensure that the validity of renewal of already registered products will not exceed January 2024.
The lawmaker expressed concerns that the decision to ban the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles runs counter to the spirit and letter of the Constitution and runs against the Economic Recovery Plan of the current administration.
Agbodike also expressed concern that given the numerous economic challenges confronting poor Nigerians, the ban on the production of the said beverages will cause more havoc and cause job losses for over 50% of the workers in Nigeria.
He said the House is aware of the need to encourage the sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria, hence NAFDAC’s policy to place a ban on the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles will be counterproductive.
He said the House is also aware that the decision to place a ban on the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles will encourage unscrupulous elements to go about the production of such drinks and products without recourse to NAFDAC.
Agbodike added that the ban on the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles will work more hardship on Nigerians whose livelihoods come from the production and sale of such beverages and will, in the long run, plunge more Nigerians into unemployment and economic hardship and cause them to suffer more in view of the current subsidy removal regime.
Adopting the motion, the lawmakers gave the committee four weeks to carry out the investigation and report back for further legislative action.