…demands review of ban
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), the umbrella body for Employers in Nigeria, has stated that alcoholic beverages in sachets, pet and glass bottles of 200ml were not targeted at underage children and commercial bus drivers, but a product of the failing purchasing power of Nigerians.
NECA also raised concerns over the unintended consequences of the ban on the production of alcoholic drinks in sachets and small-sized bottles by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), warning of its dire impacts on Nigeria’s struggling economy.
The employers’ body, in its reaction to the development, equated the ban to economic sabotage and an attempt to further drag businesses in the sector into an economic abyss.
Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, the director-general of NECA, speaking in Lagos on Thursday, said the ban was ill-advised.
“The recent ban on the production and sale of these products is not only ill-advised but also ill-timed given the current economic situation, the current rate of unemployment, the inability of the Customs to effectively police the borders and the likely loss of investment by these organisations.
“At a time when all economic fundamentals are against organised business with consequential effects on job creation and enterprise sustainability, the ban by NAFDAC will further drag businesses into the precipice and escalate the current rate of unemployment in the country. In a country where there are many unguarded entry points, this will also promote smuggling as unscrupulous elements will leverage on this ban to flood the market with dangerous adulterated products”.
Reiterating the association’s opposition to the ban, Smatt Oyerinde, stressed the importance of the beverage and alcoholic industry as a major provider of employment and a significant contributor to government tax revenue.
He said while it was important to control the abuse of alcoholic drinks in the country, it was of greater importance to ensure business sustainability, employment creation and poverty reduction among households.
“The consequential loss of jobs and investment will further escalate the already bad insecurity situation in the country,” he said and called for an immediate review of the ban.
He also called for an intensified campaign against the drinking of alcohol by underage children and commercial drivers on all fronts, just as he suggested a stiffer penalty to deter these target groups.
The DG noted that alcoholic beverages in sachets, pet and glass bottles of 200ml were not targeted at underage children and commercial bus drivers, but a product of the failing purchasing power of Nigerians.