New FG Policy On Sachet, PET Bottles Set To Send Alcoholic Brands To The Drawing Board
Owners of alcoholic brands packaged in sachets and tiny PETs or glass bottles below 200 milliliters would be rushing back to the drawing board to brew some new survival strategies as the Nigerian government is planning to phase out alcoholic products packaged in this format in the next two years.
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has already declared that it is stopping the registration of all alcoholic products packaged in this format
Disclosing this on Monday, January 24 in a statement signed by the Director-General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the agency revealed that the decision to ban registration of new alcoholic drinks in sachet and small volume PET and glass bottles above 30 percent Alcohol by Volume (ABV), was taken in line with the recommendation of a high powered special committee that met about three years ago.
The committee had representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, and Federal Competition, Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) and Industry, Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), and Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN).
Manufacturers of low volume alcohol beverages (200ml) with satisfactory laboratory reports already submitted to NAFDAC for registration before the decision, have been directed to reformulate their products to stipulated standards free of charge.
NAFDAC also explained that they will ensure that the validity of the renewal of already registered alcoholic products in the affected category does not exceed the year 2024.
The statement read; “Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria was also given a matching order 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.
“Producers of alcohol in sachets and small volume agreed to reduce production by 50 percent with effect from January 31st, 2022 while ensuring the products are completely phased out in the country by 31st January 2024.
” The agency is 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.”
Analysts have pointed out that the revenue of companies massively producing alcoholic drinks in this format will drop drastically over the next two years. Brands like Chelsea, Orijin, Alomo Bitters, DeRok, Action Bitters, Squadron and many others that have rocked this segment and have generated remarkable income must look for new avenues to excel and survive as the Nigerian government pushes for ways to cut the consumption of alcohol, especially among underage children.
Obviously, the bottom line of brands like Chelsea, Orijin, Seaman, DeRok, Action Bitters and Squadron among others could be dislocated especially if they are unable to meet the phase-out deadline.
There are indicators that some small players in the segment are coming together to challenge the policy in court under the guise that it will negatively affect employees in the factories where these products are produced, as workers in the sachet and PET bottles could become redundant if their company is not able to scale up production into other segments within the timeline. The underlining goal to get an indefinite extension while production continues endlessly.
The policy, these agitators claim. will also affect informal jobs at the local bus parks and streets, as thousands of traders are involved in the retail sales of these alcoholic brands across the country..
However, some observers have pointed out the many benefits of this new policy. They believe it will drastically reduce alcoholic consumption among children and drivers who are key factors driving the demand of sachet and small PET bottles. It will also reduce the number of road accidents induced by intoxication. However, the general fear among commentators has been the capacity to enforce the policy in a country where counterfeiters are still operating with effortless ease.