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Ban on alcohol in sachets economic sabotage, says NECA

by Ikenna Ngere

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, the umbrella body for Employers in Nigeria, has described the banning of packaging of alcoholic drinks in sachets and small-sized bottles by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control as economic sabotage.

In a statement on Thursday, NECA described the ban as an attempt to further drag businesses in the manufacturing sector into an economic abyss.

According to the statement, the Director-General of NECA, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde said the 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 police the borders effectively and the likely loss of investment by these organisations.

He said, “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 unemployment rate 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.”

Earlier this week, NAFDAC announced a ban on the production, manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, pet, and glass bottles of 200ml and below this month.

Before wielding the big stick, NAFDAC asserted that it had thoroughly involved stakeholders, including distilleries.

However, the NECA DG stressed that the beverage and alcoholic industry was a key source of employment and a significant contributor to government tax revenues.

Oyerinde said that 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.

He, therefore, calls for a review of the ban, while intensifying the campaign against the drinking of alcohol by underage children and commercial drivers on all fronts.

Oyerinde called on NAFDAC to reverse the ban and advocated for further dialogue with relevant associations, particularly the Distillers Association, the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, National Union of Road Transport Workers, among others, to avoid the negative economic and social consequences of the ill-advised and ill-timed ban.


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