By Charles Okonji
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) have called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s led Renewed Hope Government to save over ₦800 billion worth of investment in the alcoholic beverages sub-sector of the Nigerian economy.
This call was necessitated by the recent ban placed on alcoholic beverages in sachets and pet bottles not less than 200ml by the National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC).
MAN, DIBAN disclosed this on Friday in Lagos, during a joint press conference on the ban held at MAN HOUSE.
According to the the Director General of MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, “In order to avert this colossal loss on investment in machines, raw materials and financial resources, we call on President Bola Tinubu to prevail on NAFDAC DG, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye to reverse the ban, and also save over 5.5 million direct and indirect jobs created by the MAN sub-sector who currently earn their livelihood from the business.
On his part, the Executive Secretary DIBAN, Sir John Ichue who noted that the investors in this sub-sector had invested over ₦800bn into the business, adding that some of the money invested in the sector were borrowed funds from banks,
Ichue pointed out that many of them have procured raw materials that would last them for the next four to five years, lamenting that it will be a colossal loss to the manufacturers and the country as a whole, if the government fails to call NAFDAC to order immediately.
He stated that more than 25 companies in wines and spirits sector in the country may be forced to close shop if the President did not intervene in reversing the ban as quick as possible.
Lending his voice, the Chairman of DIBAN, Chief (Engr.)Patrick Anegbe, who also also doubles as the CEO Intercontinental Distillers, said the association had always preached responsible drinking and had mounted media campaigns on radio andTV kicking against underage taking alcoholic beverages in sachets.
He emphasised that the association is on the same page with NAFDAC, stating that the same objective could be achieved through access control rather than outright ban.
Anegbe expressed that through access control mechanism, “the underage will be be safeguarded, businesses will remain and members and suppliers in the value chain of the sub-sector will retain their jobs.
In his own words, “I also called on the President to intervene immediately, otherwise many jobs are on the line. Some of us the investors have invested heavily in the sector.”
Throwing his punch over the ban, the CEO Stellar Beverage, Gandhi Anandan, lamented that the ban was misfit as it may trigger irresponsible drinking, saying, “NAFDAC banned alcoholic beverages in sachets and pet bottles not less than 200ml encouraging those in 200ml and above.”
Registering his displeasure, Mr. Wale Majolagbe, CEO, Grand oak industries, noted that the distilled wine and spirits has not been fingered as leading to deaths of anyone, but people had reportedly died from consuming undistilled drinks.
He stressed that NAFDAC was not only insensitive to the hardship Nigerians are going through, but that the DG, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye might be working in variance to President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda by imposing this unnecessary ban.
By Charles Okonji