The Federal Government has indicated plans to completely phase out high concentration of alcohol in sachets and small Polyethylene Terephthalate and glass bottles in the country.
The moves are contained in a statement by the Director-General of the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, last Saturday titled: “NAFDAC Cautions On Alcohol Abuse”.
She said, “NAFDAC under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Health, once again, wishes to bring to the attention of the general public, concerns relating to the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in sachets, small volume glass and PET bottles.
“These concerns relate to negative effects of irresponsible alcohol consumption on public health and on the safety and security of the public, alcohol being a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence producing properties.
“Uncontrolled access and availability of high concentration alcohol in sachet and small volume PET or glass bottles has been put forward as a factor contributing to substance and alcohol abuse in Nigeria with its negative impact on the society.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that alcohol consumption contributes to three million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people.
“NAFDAC with full support of the Federal Ministry of Health has continued to exercise its regulatory responsibilities by ensuring that all alcoholic beverages and other regulated products approved by the agency meet set standards of quality, safety and wholesomeness.
“The Federal Ministry of Health is concerned about the high incidence of substance and alcohol abuse in the country and NAFDAC, being the competent authority and working with relevant stakeholders, is increasing efforts to stem this.
“With regard to alcohol, major stakeholders have been engaged at the highest level and are already sensitised to the issue. To this end, several interventions jointly agreed upon by major stakeholders are being undertaken and as a first step, no new products in sachet and small volume PET or glass bottles above 30 per cent ABV will be registered by NAFDAC.
“Furthermore, to reduce availability and curb abuse, effective January 31, 2020, producers of alcohol in sachets and small volume PET and glass bottles are to reduce production by 50 per cent of capacity prior to January, 2020. The overall goal is a complete phase out of high concentration alcohol in sachets and small PET and glass bottles in line with the agreed roadmap or earlier.”
Meanwhile, the peace talks between the Federal Government, organised labour and the civil rights groups on the recent hike in petrol price and electricity tariffs would now take place tomorrow in Abuja.
The meeting was originally scheduled for Friday but had to be postponed to enable as many interest groups as possible to take part in it.
The Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, confirmed the development in a text message, yesterday.
He said the meeting will come up at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Labour and Employment Minister, Dr Chris Ngige, first informed reporters of the talks, last Friday, as he emerged from a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ngige said the meeting, called on behalf of Buhari, would provide the government team an opportunity to open its books to organised labour and explain why it took recent decisions.
President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, had told newsmen moments after the minister’s announcement that the notice of the meeting went out late, and that labour leaders from different parts of the country would not be able to reach Abuja under 24 hours for the talks.
He said labour had proposed that the meeting be rescheduled.
Akpan, confirming the meeting’s postponement, last Saturday, said the leadership of organised labour and other civil society organisations were not likely to be available in one fold.
He said: “The meeting has been rescheduled to Tuesday, September 15, at 10 am. Venue is Banquet Hall of Presidential Villa. This is to accommodate all participants.”
In a separate interview, last Saturday, Wabba said organised labour would soon come out with a position on the recent increases in prices of various essential commodities, including petrol and electricity.
He said organised labour would not protest until the Central Working Committee (CWC) had met and agreed on appropriate action.
“Labour takes one battle at a time; it does not make announcement without backing its action,” the labour leader said.
Wabba noted that NLC had remained consistent on neo-liberal policies, and would take appropriate action in respect of the increases in order to achieve desired result.
He also said that it was high time Nigeria started refining products locally to solve importation challenges.
On the suspended planned protest against the Rivers State Government, Wabba said that there was the need to mend fences between the state government and labour to ensure harmonious relationship.
According to him, the will of the people should not always be taken for granted “as injury to one is injury to all”.
The NLC president called on other state governments to take appropriate steps toward addressing labour issues so as to avoid the wrath of the organised labour.
“We will take up any state that undermines the rights of workers. Workers should be conscious of their rights.
“There is synergy and we will confront recalcitrant employers to respect the law so that we don’t give room for sudden situations to rise,” Wabba said.
He further said that the Rivers State Government and labour had concluded negotiations on minimum wage, and the enabling circular would be released for a collective bargaining agreement to be signed.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), had increased the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) to N151, 60 per litre from N145 with effect from September 2.
Also, electricity tariff was increased effective September 1, by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) from N30.23 per kwh to N62.33 per kwh.