• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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NAFDAC’s alcohol sachet ban threatens N800bn investment – MAN, DIBAN

NAFDAC’s alcohol sachet ban threatens N800bn investment – MAN, DIBAN

…urge FG to intervene

The recent ban on sachet alcoholic drinks and PET bottles less than 200ml by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) is a threat to N800 billion worth of investments in the food and beverage subsector.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) disclosed this on Friday during a joint press conference on the ban held at MAN House, Ikeja, Lagos.

The manufacturers and distillers associations urged the federal government to intervene and reverse the ban to save the possible loss of investments in machines, raw materials and financial resources and save 5.5 million direct and indirect persons jobs.

The associations noted that they are not fighting with NAFDAC but working to reach a common ground to address both the health and business concerns in the wine and spirits subsector.

John Ichue, executive secretary of DIBAN, said the investors in this sector had invested over N800 billion and that the recent ban is a huge threat to the investment. He added that there are 5.5 million direct and indirect jobs that may also be in jeopardy if the ban by NAFDAC is allowed to stay.

He said some of the money invested in the sector by the investors was taken from commercial banks at high interest rates, adding that many of them have procured raw materials that would last them for the next four to five years.

The executive secretary noted that more than 25 companies in the wine and spirits sector in the country may be forced to close shop if the President did not intervene in reversing the ban.

Segun Ajayi-Kadir, director-general, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) highlighted the extensive efforts by the industry to promote responsible drinking and address underage consumption, noting that sustaining the ban implies an excess of 5.5 million jobs is at risk of being lost.

“Over N1 billion has been spent on campaigns for responsible consumption. Banning these products doesn’t just affect businesses, it affects lives,” Ajayi-Kadir said in his speech.

The director general reiterated 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.

Also, Patrick Anegbe, CEO of Intercontinental Distillers, said the association had always preached responsible drinking and had mounted media campaigns on radio andTV kicking against underage drinking alcoholic beverages in sachets.

He noted that the association is on the same page with NAFDAC, stating that the same objective could be achieved through access control rather than outright ban.

The chief executive officer noted that through the access control mechanism, “the underage will be safeguarded, businesses will remain and our members and suppliers in the value chains in the sector will retain their jobs.

“I also called on President Tinubu to intervene immediately; otherwise many jobs are on the line. Some of us investors have invested heavily in the sector.”

Wale Majolagbe , CEO of Grand oak industries, also echoed his colleagues in the industry, stating that the distilled wine and spirits has not been fingered as leading to deaths of anyone, but people had reportedly died from consuming undistilled drinks.

While he said that NAFDAC was not only insensitive to the hardship Nigerians are going through, she added that Mojisola Adeyeye, director-general of NAFDAC might be working in variance to President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda by imposing this ban.

“What would happen to the investment that the manufacturers have made? The machines used for the production of these products cannot be used for other products. The President should rise and stop NAFDAC because the ban is not giving the government a good image.”