Reps Suspends Ban On Sale Of Alcohol In Sachets, Pet Bottles

Reps Suspends Ban On Sale Of Alcohol In Sachets, Pet Bottles

The House of Representatives Committee on the National Agency on Food, Drugs Administration, and Control (NAFDAC) has ordered the suspension of the ban on the sale of spirits and alcoholic drinks in sachets and pet bottles.

The suspension is pending the outcome of its investigation on the matter.

Rep. Regina Akume, chairman, House Committee on NAFDAC, said this in Abuja after a public hearing on the ban of the product on Friday.

She said there were proper steps to take before the ban, adding that there was a need to put access control procedures in place.

This, she said, was to prevent children and youths from consuming the alcoholic contents of the sachet and pet bottles.

She said the committee was entrusted with the essential responsibility and effectiveness of NAFDAC for the creation of employment and enhancing economic growth.

She promised to reach a level playing ground between NAFDAC and manufacturers that would not be detrimental to children or public safety.

Speaking earlier, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, director-general, NAFDAC, said the ban was imposed to protect the health and welfare of children, youths, and other vulnerable groups.

“We tried to protect the market, and that was why we agreed to a five-year moratorium for the manufacturers to phase out alcoholic drinks in sachets and pet bottles in December 2018.

According to her, it is a ministerial directive and not unilaterally made by NAFDAC, and the expiration of that five-year period has come.

Mrs Adeyeye said that, in spite of the agreement on the ban on alcohol in sachets and pet bottles, it was shocking to NAFDAC that the campaign from manufacturers was mounting.

She said that a lot of issues could have been solved before now, adding that the agency was not against the production of alcoholic drinks but alcohol in sachets and pet bottles to wade off children from unnecessary access.

“The World Health Organisation had a resolution in 2010, in which Nigeria was a co-signer, that each country will have alcohol that is less reachable and less accessible to the youth, and nothing has been done about that until now.

“It is very unfortunate we are where we are now because the children who are used to taking alcohol will also become vulnerable to drug abuse.”

Mrs Adeyeye said that as a result of the alcohol in sachets, about “30 per cent of our children now take alcohol casually.”

She, however, said the market that was going to be lost, as expressed by the manufacturer, would be about 30 per cent because such could be easily concealed in the pocket.

Segun Kadilimni, director general of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), however, said there was no major basic disagreement between it and NAFDAC.

He added that MAN remained committed to protecting the youth and children from accessing alcohol.

Mr Kadilimni said the issue remained how to protect the underaged, saying: “We have realised that there is a process to get there, but banning the product will be counterproductive.”

According to him, this is because you are going to open the market to producers of illicit drugs, and these are people you cannot control.

“I believe if we work together, we will be able to eradicate underage access. These sachets are not produced for children but for adults, and they have been warned not to consume them.”

The committee, however, adjourned indefinitely.


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