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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Ban on sachet alcoholic beverage sale still in force -NAFDAC

The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, said the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages in the country is still in force.

Adeyeye said this on Wednesday at a press briefing held in Lagos and monitored by our correspondent via Zoom.

She said, “The ban on sachet alcohol is a ministerial directive and the ban still remains until the ministers respond. The meeting last week Thursday is a continuation of the discussion.

“The outcome of the meeting is that the ministers should write a memo to the Speaker (of Reps) and the House (of Reps), and the Representative of the Speaker, Prof Jake Dan-Azumi then said we should continue the discussion after the recess of the House members in July. So, the discussion continues.”

The deputy spokesman for the House of Representatives, Philip Agbese, last Friday disclosed the House and NAFDAC resolved to lift the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages in the country.

Agbese said the resolution to lift the ban temporarily was arrived at after a meeting between the House Committee and NAFDAC officials, noted

He said the lifting of the ban would end when the economy fully recovers from its current strain.

On February 1, 2024, NAFDAC commenced the 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.

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NAFDAC DG, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, said the decision was based on the recommendation of a high-powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and the industry represented by the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers, Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria, in December 2018.

However, the move to enforce the ban generated repeated protests by distillers and labour unions, who said it would cost 500,000 workers their jobs, and ruin N800bn investments.

While updating journalists on the meeting with the House of Reps members last Thursday, the NAFDAC DG stated that the agency is acting on a ministerial directive, and the ban on alcoholic beverages remains in force until the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Pate responds accordingly.

“On Thursday, June 13, 2024, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, called for a meeting with the Director-General, myself at the Speaker’s office. The Speaker was represented by the Chief of Staff, Prof Jake Dan-Azumu. Present at the meeting were the Chair of the House Committee on Food and Drug Administration, Mrs Regina Akume, and the Deputy Chair of the House Committee on Food and Drug Administration, Mr Uche Okonkwo. Also present were Mr Chinedu Ogah and Mr Philip Agbese. Accompanying me to that meeting was NAFDAC’s Director of FCT, Mr. Abdulsalam Ozigis.

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“The agency was again advised to suspend the ban, and I responded by saying that it was a ministerial directive and that I had not received that directive from the Coordinating Minister to suspend the ban. The Speaker’s representative at the meeting, Prof Dan-Azumu, and the Committee Chair, Mrs Akume then said that the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare should write a memo to the Speaker and House Committee, and Prof Dan-Azumu said that the discussion would continue in July after the House returns.

“Following the meeting, I reported the above outcome from the meeting to both the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof Muhammad Pate, and the Coordinating Minister of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tuiji Alausa,” she explained.

She emphasised that the ban on alcoholic beverages remains until the ministers respond.

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