NAFDAC plan to ban sachets alcoholic drinks, small bottles

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In order to exercise the authority granted to the Governing Council of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) by sections 5 and 30 of the Control Act Cap NI Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, the agency’s leadership has publicly stated its intention to ban sachet alcoholic beverages on several occasions.

Many Nigerians have urged the agency to move quickly on its plan to ban alcoholic drinks packaged in sachets and small bottles across the country, ostensibly due to its leadership’s apparent unwillingness to walk the talk.
It should be remembered that the agency, unquestionably concerned in September 2020 about the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in sachets and small volume glass and Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles, particularly over the negative effects of irresponsible alcohol consumption on public health, safety, and security, issued a statement indicating its willingness to impose a ban on the products.

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Prof. Moji Christianah Adeyeye, NAFDAC’s Director-General, undoubtedly expressed his concern about the fact that alcohol is also a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence-producing properties in a statement issued at the time under reference, with the support of the Federal Ministry of Health.
Close observers of NAFDAC have pointed out that the noxious products are still being sold in virtually every community, particularly at bus stops and other public places, almost two years after the agency’s leadership made its intention known to the public, and have charged the agency’s leadership to walk the walk without further delay.

They reaffirmed the call from Nigerians who understand the harmful effects of alcohol, which follows NAFDAC’s recent announcement to ban alcohol with an ABV of more than 30% and to cancel the registration of containers with an ABV of less than 200ml.

In its announcement, the agency’s leadership reaffirmed its commitment to enacting strict anti-alcohol regulations across the country.
The agency’s leadership announced that it has stopped registering alcohol in sachets, small volume PET bottles, and glass bottles under 200ml, among other regulatory measures, in a bold move to reduce alcohol availability and abuse in the country.

NAFDAC has banned the registration of new alcoholic drinks in Sachet and Small volume PET and Glass bottles above 30% ABV, according to Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, who made the announcement in Abuja. This follows the recommendation of a high-powered committee comprising the Federal Ministry of Health and NAFDAC on the one hand, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) on the other, and industry represented by the Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers.

Professor Adeyeye stated that the Agency will ensure that the validity of already registered alcoholic products in the affected category is not extended beyond the year 2024.

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Manufacturers of low-volume alcoholic beverages (200ml) with satisfactory laboratory reports who had already submitted their products to NAFDAC for registration before this decision have been directed to reformulate their products to meet the specified standards free of charge, she explained.

DIBAN was also given a matching order, according to her, to begin intensive nationwide sensitization campaigns against underage alcohol consumption by adolescents under the age of 18 in order to stem the tide of alcohol abuse in the country.
Despite the agency’s pledge to phase out the sale of alcoholic drinks packaged in sachets and small bottles, many Nigerians are concerned about the proliferation and influx of herbal drinks from within and outside the country.

Their concerns are not unfounded, as the development has resulted in an increase in various brands.

“So many youths are wasting their lives in the consumption of sachet alcoholic drinks by the day,” said Mr. Joshua Daramola, a counsellor. “I will urge NAFDAC to expedite action on its move to ban alcoholic drinks in sachet and small bottles on those grounds.”

“There is a need for NAFDAC to ban sachet alcoholic products,” he continued, “since it has been resolved to do so for nearly two years.” If I may inquire, what is the reason for the delay?”

“NAFDAC has the constitutional power to ensure that no drink shall be manufactured, imported, exported, advertised, sold or distributed in Nigeria unless it has been registered in accordance with Provisions Of Decree 19 of 1993 as amended by Food, Drugs and Related Products (Registration) Decree No. 20 of 1999,” he said.

Furthermore, he explained that, while some alcoholic drinks have been duly certified by NAFDAC and have been assigned registration numbers because they have been relatively evaluated to be safe for human consumption, there are numerous herbal drinks on the market that have not been evaluated.

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“Sachet alcoholic drinks, which have long been a threat to society, have long been a concern for NAFDAC, but it is unfortunate that they have yet to implement the ban,” said Mr. Gregory Egerue. This time, they should make certain that the plan is carried out as soon as possible.”

“NAFDAC should ensure that it keeps its word,” he added. It cannot simply announce a course of action that it intends to take and then soft pedal it at the end of the day. As a regulatory agency, it is critical to always keep its promises. If NAFDAC does not take immediate action to ensure that the products are banned as promised, many consumers may succumb to kidney disease.”

“I applaud the proposal to ban sachet alcoholic drinks because they have proliferated to a dangerous level,” Mr. Michael Obajimi said. NAFDAC, on the other hand, should be decisive about how it will carry out the plan that has been in the works in the country for nearly two years. More effort should be put into educating alcoholic beverage consumers about the health risks associated with consuming sachet alcoholic beverages.”

“It is a great idea and will be beneficial to the country,” Miss Georgina Amos said. In the long run, the negative effects of such products are costly to one’s health. There is no doubt that the increase in product sales and consumption is concerning. As a result, NAFDAC should make every effort to carry out its plan, as I have been hearing about it for a long time.”

“NAFDAC should please do something,” Mr. Ambrose Uweru said, “as indiscriminate consumption of sachet alcohol is causing serious health hazards among drinkers of the products.” The plan should be activated by NAFDAC, as it has been long overdue.”

The reason for the delay in implementing the plan can be deduced from Prof. Adeyeye’s statement, which stated that producers of alcohol in sachets and small volumes agreed to reduce production by 50% with effect from January 31, 2020, while ensuring that the products are completely phased out in the country by January 31, 2024.

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“Even as we grapple with the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she continued, “NAFDAC is resolutely committed to the strict implementation of the regulations and regulatory measures aimed at safeguarding the health of Nigerians, particularly vulnerable youths, against the dangers of reckless alcohol consumption.”

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