Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
In a bid to reduce the availability and curb the abuse of alcohol in the country, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has stopped the registration of alcohol in sachet and small volume and glass bottles below 200 militires amidst other stringent regulatory measures.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, who stated this in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said the registration of new alcoholic drinks in sachet, small volume and glass bottles above 30 per cent alcohol by volume has been banned by NAFDAC.
She said this was as a result of the recommendation of a high powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health and NAFDAC, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and Industry represented by Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) in December, 2018.
Adeyeye however said that the Agency will ensure that the validity of renewal of the already registered alcoholic products in the affected category will not exceed 2024.
The NAFDAC DG explained that manufacturers of low volume alcohol beverages (200ml) with satisfactory laboratory reports, which were already submitted to NAFDAC for registration before this decision, have been directed to reformulate their products to stipulated standards free of charge.
According to her, DIBAN was also given matching orders to embark on intensive nation-wide sensitization campaigns against underage consumption of alcohol by adolescents below the age of 18 years in the bid to stem the tide of alcohol abuse in the country.
She explained that the producers of alcohol in sachets and small volume had agreed to reduce production by 50% with effect from January 31, 2020, while ensuring the products are completely phased out in the country by January 31, 2024.
“Even as we grapple with the containment of COVID-19 pandemic, NAFDAC is resolutely committed to the strict implementation of the regulations and regulatory measures towards safeguarding the health of Nigerians particularly, the vulnerable youths, against the dangers of reckless consumption of alcohol,” Adeyeye said.