The federal government through the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has finally announced its plan to enforce the ban on alcoholic beverages produced in sachets less than 200ml.
The agency stated that the deadline for manufacturers to cease production of the drinks in sachets and PET bottles, initially set for 2018, lapsed on January 31, 2024.
She announced that the ban would be enforced starting from February 1, 2024.
Mojisola Adeyeye, the director-general of NAFDAC, clarified that the ban was not a sudden move.
According to her, it was the result of a collaborative effort by a multilateral committee. The committee’s strategy involved a gradual reduction in production by 50% by 2020, culminating in the full ban on January 31, 2024.
“This decision was based on 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 (FCCPC), and the Industry represented by the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), in December 2018.
“As a commitment to the decision reached at the end of this Committee meeting, producers of alcohol in sachets and small volume agreed to reduce the production by 5% with effect from 31st January 2022 while ensuring the product is completely phased out in the country by 31st January 2024”.
Negative effects on underage children
According to Adeyeye, the decision to eradicate the beverages in sachets was driven by concerns over their harmful effects on young children.
She said because the drinks come in pocket-friendly sizes, accessible and affordable, children easily fell for the packages only to face the consequences in the future.
“The people who are mostly at risk of the negative effect of consumption of the banned pack sizes of alcoholic beverages are the under-aged and commercial vehicle drivers and riders,” she added.
Earlier, Mr Kazeem Adeniran, Assistant Chief Regulator Officer, Investigation and Enforcement Department, NAFDAC, Lagos, said that a two-day enforcement exercise was held on Monday in Ota, Ogun to inform the public of the ban.
Adeniran said that all the products placed on hold in each of the companies visited would be evacuated, forfeited and destroyed.
“It was clearly stated after the meeting in 2018 that they should stop the production of such alcohol in sachets and pet bottles by 2024 and embark on the production of alcohol above 200ml.
“Therefore, we are not expecting to see these alcohol sachets and pet bottles in any Nigerian market for consumption,” he said.
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Cyrus Ademola is a political and economy analyst with over half a decade experience in journalism, research-based oped, economic reportage and political analysis. His works have been featured on different media outlets, covering from politics to business trends, to crime and security as well as the real estate sector.