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Thursday, 22 February 2024 05:15

FG to revisit sachet alcoholic beverages ban - says Health Minister

The Federal Government has said it intends to review the ban on alcoholic beverages packaged in sachets and PET bottles that are smaller than 200 mls.

This followed a peaceful protest staged at the premises of the Federal Ministry of Health yesterday in Abuja by members of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB).

The protesters presented their grievances to the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, citing the hardship the ban has caused to their livelihoods.

At the end of January, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) implemented a ban on alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles smaller than 20ml, citing the adverse socioeconomic impact of such packaging on the nation’s future.

NAFDAC also said the inexpensive and readily available alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles contributes to the emergence of a generation of addicted children, as the attractive packaging makes it easy for them to indulge in excessive consumption.

A statement yesterday in Abuja by the ministry’s Director of Information, Patricia Deworitshe, to the National President of the Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association, Jomoh Oyibo, expressed the association’s dissatisfaction with the ban imposed on the manufacturing, sales, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles.

Oyibo complained that following the ban, NAFDAC had sealed over 25 companies producing such alcoholic drinks, saying it was meant to curb alcoholic abuse.

The union leader said the government’s action had affected entrepreneurs, dependents, and the workforce negatively.

According to him, considering the present economic situation in the country, the timing for the ban is not right.

Oyibo urged the ministry to intervene in the matter to remedy the current predicament the association was undergoing.

Addressing the protesters, Pate said the ministry would endeavour to address their grievances.

Appealing to the aggrieved group, the minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Kachallom Daju, promised to look into their complaints and find a better option, going forward.

“What I am saying now is that we have heard your grievances. This is a listening government. We are going to discuss with partners, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and other members on the way forward,” he said.

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