Ban on production of beverages in sachets, small bottles not constitutional – Reps

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By Aaron Ossai

The House of Representatives has said that the ban on the production of beverages in sachets and small bottles in Nigeria by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC is not in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and resolved that it should be put on hold.

The resolution followed a motion on the Need to Suspend the Ban Imposed by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on the Production of Beverages in Sachets and Small Bottles in Nigeria sponsored by Hon. Paschal Agbodike and Hon. Philip Agbese.

The House also resolved to mandate its Committee on NAFDAC to investigative the basis and circumstance surrounding the ban imposed on the production of beverages in sachets and small bottles in Nigeria by the Administration and calls for it to be put on hold for being against the letter and spirit of the Constitution and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.

Leading debate on the general principles of the motion, the lead sponsor, Hon. Paschal Agbodike noted that Section 4(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), empowers the National Assembly to make laws for the order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof.

He also noted that Sections 88(1) and (2) of the Constitution empowers the National Assembly to conduct investigations into the activities of any authority executing or administering laws made by the National Assembly including National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

He said that the House be informed that NAFDAC had announced its decision to stop the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles in January 2024 when the Director General of the Agency informed the public that the agency will ensure that the validity of renewal of already registered products will not exceed January 2024

The House was worried that the decision to ban the registration of beverages in small sachets and bottles runs counter to the spirit and letter of the Constitution and runs against the Economic Recovery Plan of the current administration.

The House is also worried that given the numerous economic challenges confronting poor Nigerians, the ban on the production of the said beverages will work more havoc and cause job losses for over 50% of the workers in Nigeria and that the House is aware of the need to encourage the sustainability of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which are the greatest employer of labour in Nigeria, employing over 84% of the workforce in Nigeria adding that the policy to place a ban on the production of beverages in small sachets and bottles will be counterproductive.

At the end of a robust debate on general principles of the motion, majority of members at plenary unanimously adopted its prayers through voice vote.