Labour protests NAFDAC’s ban on sachet alcohol, says 500,000 jobs at risk (Video)

Members of the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria have protested the ban on sachet and PET bottles alcohol drinks by the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Led by leaders of Trade Union Congress, TUC, of Nigeria and Food, Beverages and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, FOBTOB, Labour rejected the ban on the production of alcoholic beverages in sachets and small bottles by the Federal Government, saying no fewer than 45,000 jobs and billions of Naira investments are at the risk of going down the drain.

The protesting workers, who stormed NAFDAC’s office at Plot 1, Industrial Estate, Apapa-Oshodi expressway, Isolo, Lagos State, displayed placards with various inscriptions, to convey their grievances.

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The protest followed a two-day enforcement exercise by NAFDAC operatives in Ota, Ogun State, leading to the shutting down of some factories,

The agency had in January 2022 announced a stop to the registration of alcohol in sachet and small-volume PET and glass bottles.

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Adeyeye, who dropped the hint in Abuja, said, “Registration of new alcoholic drinks in sachet and small volume PET and glass bottles above 30 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume) has been banned by NAFDAC following the recommendation of a high-powered Committee of the Federal Ministry of Health and NAFDAC on one hand, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and Industry represented by the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers; and the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria in December 2018.”

Speaking with journalists, the Vice Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of Trade Union Congress, Idogen Emmanuel, said since the commencement of the ban and seal of companies producing alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles, many of its members had been forced to sit at home which may result in job loss.

Emmanuel Said, “Last Thursday, NAFDAC moved to go and seal up all our companies producing sachet drinks, forgetting that the economy is so tense and harsh and they want to throw millions of persons back into the labour market. The excuse of NAFDAC is that small children consume these sachet drinks but it is boldly written on all our sachet drinks that it is meant for persons aged 18 and above.

“We are battling with the hardship of the fuel subsidy removal and dollar floating as manufacturers and now the government just decided to seal up companies because they said small children are consuming it (alcohol). It is an aberration.

“We are appealing to NAFDAC to reopen these companies so that we can come to a round table and look for a way forward. If they feel that we are not doing enough to sensitise the public, retailers and wholesalers on the need for them not to sell to children, we are ready to do more but it is wrong to close the companies at this time that the economy of the nation is unstable.”

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Meanwhile, the News Agency of Nigeria reports that NAFDAC officials, on Tuesday, began enforcement of the ban on sachets of alcoholic drinks in Osun State.

The NAFDAC officials visited some of the factories where the alcoholic beverages were being produced in sachets, pets and glass bottles of 100ml and below in Osogbo, Ilesa and Ile-Ife.

Speaking during the enforcement operation, the Assistant Director, NAFDAC Investigation and Enforcement Directorate, Mr Dare Moses, said, “This enforcement is a nationwide thing and that is why we are here in Osun to sensitise the companies producing this sachet alcoholic bitter.

“The deadline had been given for producers of alcoholic beverages to phase out 100ml and those in sachets and the rest so that we reduce the menace of abuse of alcohol by the youth and the general public.

“NAFDAC has stopped the registration for the manufacturing of alcoholic bitter drink that is below 200ml; this is due to the abuse of the drink by Nigerians.

“Due to its small size and affordability, even primary school pupils buy it to drink, and this is affecting their mental well-being.”

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