NIGERIA – The Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN), a sub-sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, has appealed for the establishment of licensed liquor stores or outlets by Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country, as an alternative to the recent ban on the production of alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles. 

In an open letter dated February 18, 2024, addressed to President Bola Tinubu, DIBAN expressed concern over the outright ban imposed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on January 31, 2024.  

NAFDAC cited concerns that packaging alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles contributed to increased underage drinking and the consumption of hard drugs. 

DIBAN’s proposal aims to address these concerns while maintaining the industry’s viability. The association called on President Tinubu to intervene and lift the ban, offering a multi-faceted approach to regulation. 

The letter emphasized the need for establishing licensed liquor stores or outlets by LGAs, providing a controlled environment for the sale of alcoholic beverages. DIBAN argued that this would ensure better regulation and prevent underage access to alcohol. 

The association presented three key actions to address NAFDAC’s concerns: DIBAN suggested a directive to NAFDAC or an executive order immediately revoking the ban on alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles. 

DIBAN also proposed the establishment of licensed liquor stores/outlets by LGAs throughout Nigeria. To address concerns about underage drinking, the association recommended that suspected underage persons (under 18) be required to show means of identification when purchasing alcoholic beverages, similar to practices in advanced countries. 

Additionally, DIBAN called for increased law enforcement efforts, including enhanced monitoring and compliance checks by agencies to ensure strict product quality in terms of contents and safety. 

The association warned that failure to reverse the ban could have severe economic consequences, including the loss of investments worth N1.2tn (U.S$ 815.2 M) and unemployment for 5.5 million people.  

It also highlighted potential revenue losses for Federal and State Governments from Excise Duty, VAT, PAYE, Corporate Tax, and other sources. 

The ban, implemented by NAFDAC on February 1, 2024, was based on a committee’s collective recommendation, which included representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

However, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria countered NAFDAC’s claim, asserting that its members did not support the decision to ban products in the blacklisted category. 

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