Lagos, Nigeria – In a bid to challenge the National Agency Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC)’s recent directive ordering the closure of companies manufacturing alcoholic sachet drinks, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Food, Beverages and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) orchestrated a peaceful demonstration. The protest unfolded outside NAFDAC’s office located at Plot 1, Industrial Estate, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Isolo, Lagos State.
Since 2018, NAFDAC has been steadfast in its directive to cease the production of alcoholic beverages in sachets and bottles below 200ml, with the enforcement deadline set for January 31, 2024. Moreover, the suspension of registration for alcoholic beverages in sachet, as well as small volume PET and glass bottles below 200ml, was implemented by NAFDAC in January 2022. Recent enforcement actions in Ota, Ogun State, resulted in the closure of several factories.
Expressing concern over the impact of these closures, Mr. Emmanuel Idogen, Vice-President of TUC, highlighted the substantial loss of employment opportunities. While acknowledging NAFDAC’s regulatory duties, Idogen emphasized the adverse consequences of rendering thousands of individuals jobless amid prevailing economic challenges. He emphasized the ripple effect on families’ welfare and societal well-being.
Moreover, Idogen contested the singling out of alcoholic sachets as the primary cause of drainage blockages in Lagos State, arguing that other materials contribute equally. He underscored the affordability and accessibility of sachet alcoholic beverages, especially for individuals with limited purchasing power.
Echoing similar sentiments, Mr. Anthony Oyagua, Secretary of FOBTOB, lamented the plight of approximately 5,000 displaced workers and urged NAFDAC to reconsider its stance to avert further economic strain. Oyagua emphasized the broader ramifications on stakeholders, including suppliers, customers, and governmental revenue.
In response, Mr. Kayode Amuda, Director of Drug and Evaluation Research at NAFDAC, reiterated the agency’s commitment to safeguarding public health. He emphasized the detrimental effects of sachet alcoholic beverages on youth and advocated for stringent enforcement measures to address the issue.
As the debate continues between regulatory authorities and industry stakeholders, the fate of alcoholic sachet drink factories hangs in the balance, prompting calls for dialogue and reconsideration of policies to mitigate adverse socio-economic impacts.
Source: Vanguard Nigeria
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