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Health Minister may lift production ban on sachet alcoholic drinks

By Egbodo Queen

The Federal Government has announced its intention to reassess the prohibition on alcoholic beverages packaged in sachets and PET bottles smaller than 200mls, following a peaceful protest staged by members of the Food, Beverage, and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) at the premises of the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja.

The protest, which occurred on Wednesday, saw demonstrators voicing their concerns to the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, regarding the adverse impact of the prohibition on their livelihoods.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) had earlier enforced a ban on alcoholic beverages in sachets and PET bottles smaller than 200mls at the end of January, citing concerns over the socioeconomic consequences and the potential for fostering alcohol addiction among children.

In response to the grievances expressed by FOBTOB, a statement issued by the ministry’s Director of Information, Patricia Deworitshe, to the National President of the association, Jomoh Oyibo, conveyed the association’s dissatisfaction with the prohibition, highlighting its negative repercussions on manufacturers, sales, and consumption within the industry.

Oyibo lamented the adverse effects of the prohibition on entrepreneurs, dependents, and the workforce, particularly amidst the current economic challenges facing the country.

Acknowledging the concerns raised by FOBTOB, Prof. Ali Pate, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Kachallom Daju, assured the protesters of the government’s commitment to address their grievances.

He pledged to engage with relevant stakeholders, including the Trade Union Congress (TUC), to explore alternative solutions moving forward.

“This government listens to its citizens. We will engage with stakeholders, including the Trade Union Congress (TUC), to find a mutually beneficial resolution,” stated the minister’s representative, offering reassurance to the demonstrators.

 

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