The Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Food, Beverages, and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) organized a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday opposing the directive issued by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to close down companies producing alcoholic sachet drinks.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the protest unfolded outside NAFDAC’s office located at Plot 1, Industrial Estate, Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, Isolo, Lagos State.
In 2018, NAFDAC issued a directive prohibiting the production of alcoholic beverages and drinks in sachets and bottles smaller than 200ml, effective from January 31, 2024. Additionally, in January 2022, NAFDAC suspended the registration of alcoholic beverages in sachets as well as small volume PET and glass bottles under 200ml.
Following these directives, a two-day enforcement operation occurred recently in Ota, Ogun State, resulting in the closure of several factories.
Mr. Emmanuel Idogen, the Vice-President of TUC, expressed concern over the significant job losses resulting from the closure of these factories by the regulatory agency. He emphasized that while they acknowledged NAFDAC’s duty, shutting down the livelihoods of thousands during economic hardship was deemed inhumane.
“We all know the economic hardship we are facing in the country presently. Price of fuel has increased, prices of food is increasing on a daily basis and there is inflation.
“Some of the people earn their living to feed their family and dependents from the factory that you have shut down.
“Invariably, there will be more families exposed to hunger and I believe this will have a negative impact on the society,” he said.
The vice-president noted that numerous companies across the country have been facing pressure due to the challenging economic conditions, resulting in a scarcity of employment opportunities.
“And now, you want to lay off thousands of workers into the labour market that is already overstretched.
“What do you expect them to do in order to feed and cater for the needs of their family?.
“We are appealing to NAFDAC to suspend the directive to shutdown the production of alcoholic sachets drinks for the posterity of the masses,” he said.
Mr. Anthony Oyagua, the Secretary of FOBTOB, stated that a minimum of 5,000 members had lost their jobs and been thrust into the job market.
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