New Telegraph

NAFDAC Ban: Economy to Lose N800bn, 5.5M Jobs –MAN, DIBAN

Another round of mass protest greeted the decision of the National Agency for Food and Drug Ad- ministration and Control (NAFDAC’s) decision to ban manufacturing and sale of alcoholic beverages in sachets, especially spirit drinks in sachets and PET bottles less than 200ml. Analysing the ban, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), say Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would lose N800 billion and over 5.5 million direct and indirect work- force, if ban is not reversed.

They also disclosed that the NAFDAC ban would damage local manufacturing significantly, which could negatively affect the economy, as well as the social wellbeing of the people of Nigeria. These were their asserconference on the ban held at MAN House, Ikeja, Lagos yesterday. Speaking at the event, they explained that the intervention of President Bola Tinubu is urgently needed in the matter, advising the President to prevail on NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, to reverse the ban, and also save 5.5 million direct and indirect persons currently earning their livelihood from the business.

Specifically, they pointed out that the country’s economy does not have the shock absorber to suffer a further economic quagmire, especially in the Food, Beverage and Tobacco sec- tor, which is a key arm in the country’s manufacturing sector. Precisely, the joint associations debunked the statement credited to the NAFDAC’s DG that the ban on the spirit drinks in sachets and PET bottles less than 200ml was universal and consensually agreed. They stated that NAFDAC lied as the ban was in- human and likely to throw many workers into the job market in the first quarter of 2024.

They, however, cleared the air that they are not in any way fighting NAFDAC, noting that they needed to reach a common ground, which would address both the health of the underage and that of the business concerns in the wine and spirits sector. The Executive Secretary of DIBAN, Sir John Ichue, said the investors in this sec- tor had invested over N800 billion into the business. “Aside that, there are over 5.5 million direct and indirect jobs that may also be in jeopardy if the ban by NAFDAC is allowed to stay,” he added. He said some of the money invested in the sector by the investors was borrowed from banks, adding that many of them have procured raw materials that would last them for the next four to five years.

Ichue said more than 25 companies in the wine and spirits sector in the country may be forced to close shop if the President did not intervene in reversing the ban. On his part, the Chairman of DIBAN, Chief (Engr.) Patrick Anegbe, who is also the CEO In- tercontinental Distillers, said the association had always preached responsible drinking and had mounted media campaigns on radio and TV kicking against underage drinking of alcohol in sachets.

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