The recent announcement of a proposed ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in sachets and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles has stirred significant concerns, with the Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FBTSS) and the National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employee (NUFBTE) warning that over 500,000 jobs are at risk.
Protesters gathered at the Lagos office of the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), representing the unions and calling on the Federal Government to reconsider the ban. According to NUFBTE, this move could lead to the displacement of half a million workers, exacerbating the challenges in the already oversaturated Nigerian labor market.
Emmanuel Idogien, Vice Chairman of NUFBTE, Lagos Council, expressed concerns about the potential impact on industries. “Most of our jobs are at stake. Many companies will fold up, especially those local industries that serve as raw materials to the producers,” he warned during the protest.
The unions emphasized that their employers have been law-abiding and socially responsible citizens, contributing significantly to economic growth through substantial tax payments, running into billions of naira. Additionally, they highlighted ongoing advocacy initiatives aimed at educating the public about the dangers of overconsumption and underage drinking.
During the protest, NUFBTE pleaded with NAFDAC and the Federal Government to reconsider the outright ban. They proposed an alternative approach, suggesting the implementation of regulations on the products and increased public enlightenment, rather than a complete prohibition. The unions raised concerns that the ban might lead to the flourishing of counterfeiters and illicit alcohol production, posing various health risks.
As the debate over the ban unfolds, critics argue for a more balanced approach, considering both economic and health implications. The unions’ plea puts a spotlight on the potential consequences for employment and the industries involved in the production of sachet alcohol products.
Source: Vanguard News
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