The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says the production capacity of alcohol products in sachets has been reduced by 50 per cent.
Mr Sayo Akintola, the NAFDAC Resident Media Consultant, made this known on Friday in Lagos.
Akintola said that NAFDAC was currently monitoring the situation and had stopped issuing approval for registration of alcohol products in sachets.
According to him, this is part of the process to withdraw from the Nigerian market.
Akintola said: “The status quo still remains, NAFDAC has given the order and very soon enforcement will commence the moment the deadline given to them expires.
“NAFDAC has reduced production capacity by 50 per cent and it is monitoring the situation.
“The directive is not that they must stop production totally for now.
“But, the agency is not giving approval for registration of new alcoholic products in sachets,” he said.
NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, had in September expressed worry over the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in sachets and small volume glass and Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles.
Adeyeye also decried the negative effects of irresponsible alcohol consumption on public health and on the safety and the security of the public.
She said with the support of the Federal Ministry of Health, the concern also relates to the fact that alcohol “is also a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence producing properties.
According to her, uncontrolled access and availability of high concentration alcohol in sachet and small volume PET or glass bottles have been put forward as a factor contributing to substance and alcohol abuse in Nigeria with its negative impact on the society.
She said 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 the 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 on 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 Jan. 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 sachet and small PET and glass bottles in line with the agreed roadmap or earlier,” Adeyeye said.