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Distillers Prepare for More Protests as House of Representatives Investigates Ban on Sachet Alcohol



The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, instructed its committee on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to examine the circumstances surrounding the ban imposed on the production of beverages in sachets and small bottles by the agency.


This decision followed a motion put forward on the floor of the House by Paschal Agbese during Wednesday’s plenary session.


Additionally, the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria informed The PUNCH of its intention to escalate its protest to the National Assembly regarding the ban.


NAFDAC's Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, had announced on Monday that the agency would commence enforcement of the ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below.


On Tuesday, members of the DBAN staged a demonstration at the Lagos office of NAFDAC to express their dissatisfaction with the ban.


Both the Food Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association and the National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employees rejected the plan, stating that it would result in "over 500,000 breadwinners losing their jobs and adding pressure to the already saturated Nigerian labor market."


These unions took their protest to the Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday.


Speaking at the Assembly entrance, Emmanuel Edoghe, Vice Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Lagos Chapter, reiterated the call for NAFDAC to reconsider its decision on the ban.


He stated, "NAFDAC, which previously licensed us to produce well-blended and refined drinks using certified machines and materials, is now shutting down factories, putting approximately five million workers out of jobs, directly and indirectly."


Leading the debate on the issue at the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Agbbodike emphasized that Section 88(1)(2) of the 1999 Constitution empowered the National Assembly to investigate such matters given their potential impact on the economy.


Agbbodike expressed concern over the ban's potential to exacerbate economic challenges faced by poor Nigerians, leading to job losses for over 50 per cent of the workforce in Nigeria.


The motion was subsequently referred to the Committee on NAFDAC for further legislative review.

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