The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has voiced its objection to the recent ban placed on spirit drinks in sachets and PET bottles less than 200ml stating that the reasons the agency alluded for the ban were not backed by empirical evidence.
Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director General of MAN, disclosed this concern on Wednesday in Lagos while responding to the by introduced by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Ajayi-Kadir explained that the ban aligns with an agreement reached by a tripartite committee established in 2018 by the Federal Ministry of Health to halt the production of alcohol in sachets and PET bottles of less than 200ml, effective Jan. 31, 2024.
However, he noted that when NAFDAC initially proposed the ban, critical stakeholders, including key members of the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), expressed reservations in a letter dated Nov. 6, 2018.
He mentioned that the contents of the letter included concerns such as the assertion that attributing the alleged increase in the use of hard drugs to the production and sales of alcoholic drinks in sachets and small PET bottles is incorrect, as no scientific or other studies have proven this claim.
- He stated, “It must be explicitly stated: Moderation and responsible drinking promote good health. Small is good, if you buy small you will consume small. If you buy big you will consume big, this is not healthy.
- “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,”
Need for regulation
Ajayi-Kadir emphasized the importance of government efforts and assistance, advocating for increased activities and support in the form of access control and stricter regulations. He cautioned against implementing a ban, which he believed would be counterproductive.
He urged that instead of a ban, regulations and access control measures should be put in place. These measures could include the establishment of licensed liquor stores or outlets by local government councils nationwide.
- Earlier this week, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) announced the commencement of enforcement of the ban on the production and sales of alcoholic beverages in sachets less than 200ml.
- This has generated heated great objections among producers leading to protests in some quarters. The House of Representatives has promised to investigate the ban by NAFDAC.