NECA sees alcoholic sachet ban as economic sabotage

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has described the ban of alcoholic drinks in sachets and pet bottles by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as an act of economic sabotage and an attempt to pull businesses operating in the sector into an “economic abyss”.

Director-General of NECA, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, in Lagos yesterday, said the ban on the production and sale of the products was not only ill-advised but also ill-timed given the current economic situation, rate of unemployment, inability of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to effectively police the borders and the likely loss of investment.

He said this should not occur at a time when all economic fundamentals are against business with consequences for job creation and enterprise sustainability.

According to him, the ban will further drag businesses onto the precipice and escalate the current rate of unemployment.

The NECA chief stressed that in a country where there are many unmanned entry points, the move would promote smuggling, alleging that some unscrupulous elements would leverage the ban to flood the market with adulterated products.

While reiterating the association’s opposition to the alleged ill-advised NAFDAC action, Oyerinde reiterated the importance of the beverage and alcoholic industry as a major provider of employment and a significant contributor to government tax revenue.

While stating the importance of controlling the abuse of alcoholic drinks in the country, he said it was of greater importance to ensure business sustainability, employment creation and poverty reduction among households.

According to him, the consequential loss of jobs and investment will further escalate the already bad insecurity situation in the country.

He, therefore, called for a review of the ban, while intensifying the campaign against the drinking of alcohol by underage children and commercial drivers on all fronts.

He further suggested a stiffer penalty to deter the target groups.

He said that the sachet economy-led businesses that produce commodities such as detergents, cocoa beverages, powdered milk and sachet drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), among others, came to be as a result of the declining purchasing power of the citizens in meeting basic needs.

“Therefore, alcoholic beverages in sachets, pet and glass bottles of 200ml are not targeted at underage children and commercial bus drivers, but a product of the failing purchasing power of Nigerians.

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