Between Reps and NAFDAC on sachet alcoholic beverages’ ban

Recently, the House of Representatives announced the possibility of a temporary lift of the ban on alcoholic beverages in sachets by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). JOSHUA EGBODO writes on the counter moves by the agency,  days after.

The ban

Nigerians were awoken to the news on February 1, 2024  that NAFDAC has commenced the enforcement of the ban on the importation, manufacturing, distribution, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of sizes 200ml and below.

Director General of the agency,  Prof Moji Adeyeye, was to explain that the decision was based on the recommendation of a joint committee of the Federal Ministry of Health (NAFDAC), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and industry representatives from the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers, Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria, in December 2018.


The enforcement of the ban spraked protests, involving distillers and labour unions, who argued that it would result in the loss of not less than 500,000 jobs and the destruction of about N800 billion investments.

While the protests last, the House of Representatives passed a resolution, directing its relevant committee to wade in and establish the circumstances surrounding the enforcement decision by NAFDAC.

Reps assure temporary lift

About a fortnight ago, the House of Representatives disclosed that the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) may in no distant time, lift the temporary ban placed on the production and sale of alcoholic beverages in a sachets and other containers below specific volumes.

The House of had in a resolution earlier, directed NAFDAC to stayput on its planned enforcement of the ban until after its planned engagement with the agencyandotherstakeholders.

Deputy spokesman of the House and a member of the House Committee on NAFDAC, Hon. Philip Agbese at a press conference disclosed that through the engagements with the agency and other stakeholders, it was agreed that implementation of the ban was at a wrong time, considering the present economic situation in the country.

He said the five year moratorium allowed for manufacturers to phase the drinks out was seemingly not enough for them to meet the deadline due to effects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The lawmaker said the Director General of NAFDAC, Professor Moji Adeyeye has agreed to take a second look at the ban “with a human face”.

According to him, “there may be a temporary lift until a better time that the economy may have improved”, adding that the basis of the ban was not health, but children’s unhindered access to such products.

Agbese also noted that issues of fundamental human rights were also raised during the Committee’s engagements; that people should be allowed to take what they want.

Ban stands, NAFDAC insists 

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was to last week however reiterated that the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages remains in force. 

The message was passed by by NAFDAC’s DG, Moji Adeyeye, during a press briefing held in Lagos, where she emphasized the ministerial directive underpinning the ban, stating, “The ban on sachet alcohol is a ministerial directive and the ban still remains until the ministers respond. The meeting last week Thursday is a continuation of the discussion”.

Confusion galore

The stance of NAFDAC and the pronouncement of the Committee of the House of Representatives which has the oversight mandate over the agency has no doubt, introduced some confusion. This was because Agbese, the deputy spokesman for the House made the situation looked as if  NAFDAC had resolved to lift the ban temporarily.

Agbese explained that the decision to lift the ban was reached following a meeting between the House Committee and NAFDAC officials. He noted that the lifting of the ban would be temporary and is contingent on the country’s economic recovery. “The lifting of the ban would end when the economy fully recovers from its current strain,” Agbese had said.

According to him, the lifting was intended to alleviate economic pressures, saying the ban on sachet alcoholic beverages may not be as rigid as initially presented by NAFDAC.

What next?

With no response from the House of Representatives,  which is expected to resume plenary soon from its ongoing Sallah break, it is not yet clear on what will happen next. NAFDAC hinged the ban on seamless access of minors to alcohol packed in sachets, but to Agbese parental control should be the normal thing to do in attempts to prevent children such accesses.