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Protesters storm National Assembly over sachet alcohol ban

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• Protesters at the National Assembly Complex Abuja on Wednesday
Banned Pet Bottle, Sachet Alcoholic beverages

A coalition of civil society groups, on Wednesday, protested at the National Assembly against the ban of alcoholic beverages in sachet by the National Agency for Food And Drugs Administration and Control

The protesters led by the Coalition Against Economic Saboteurs held placards with the inscription, ‘Let The Poor Live.’

The spokesperson for the coalition, Adam Matazu, also called for the immediate sacking of NAFDAC DG, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, for her alleged anti-people policies.

The groups stated that the new policy would further pile more problems on the Nigerian economy, possibly leading to the shutdown of the industries producing the products.

They further alleged that multinationals are using Adeyeye to destroy small businesses and local production companies.

Protesters storm National Assembly over sachet alcohol ban

Protesters at the National Assembly Complex Abuja on Wednesday

Matazu said, “Today, we address a matter of grave concern, the recent decision by the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control, Prof Moji Adeyeye, to ban the sale of beverages in small sachets.

“We view this policy as a direct assault on the livelihoods of millions of Nigerians, a move that will not only put countless citizens out of work but also exacerbate the existing problems of insecurity and unemployment in our nation.

“We strongly condemn this ill-thought-out policy, which seems disconnected from the realities faced by the ordinary Nigerian citizens.

“NAFDAC leadership abandoned their core responsibility of focusing on issues that truly threaten the well-being of our people, such as the inflow of fake and substandard drugs, we find the Director General choosing to target a sector that provides employment for many Nigerians and serves the needs of millions of families,” he added.

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Matazu added, “ProfMoji Adeyeye’s tenure at NAFDAC has, regrettably, been marked by disappointments and failures to deliver the desired results.

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“Rather than ensuring the safety of our food and drugs, we have witnessed a surge in counterfeit beverages, creating a pervasive doubt about the authenticity of what our citizens consume.”

Another speaker, Ben Omale, also called on all stakeholders to unite against the leadership of Adeyeye.

He said, “We demand her immediate suspension from office by the President to avert further damage to our economy by causing job losses, and business closures. It is imperative that NAFDAC should be led by someone who prioritises the real issues affecting our nation’s health and economic stability.”

NAFDAC had on Monday announced the enforcement of the ban on importation, manufacture, distribution, sale, and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below.

“As of January 31, 2024, there is no alcoholic beverage in these categories that are registered by NAFDAC. I also want to inform you that the agency has started enforcement actions to enforce the implementation of this policy.

“The window period given to manufacturers by NAFDAC to sell off all alcoholic drinks in this category elapsed on January 31, 2024.

“To this end on the first day, after the elapse of the window period, the agency commenced nationwide enforcement actions on February 1, 2024 to enforce the implementation of the new policy,” Adeyeye said at a press conference.

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Cement price hike: FG threatens to open borders

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Cement price hike: FG threatens to open borders

The Federal Government says it might open the borders for cement importation, if manufacturers of the product fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

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“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper.

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

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He expressed his displeasure at the position of Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James , Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

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He, however, identified some areas of concerns and appealed to the government to look into them in order to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

NAN reports that at the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

NAN also reports that the three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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Many Nigerians can no longer afford beer – NB CEO

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Nigerian Breweries releases new prices of drinks

The Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries Plc, Hans Essaadi, has said that the economic situation in Nigeria has deteriorated to the extent citizens can no longer afford to buy beer.

Essaadi said this on Monday at the company’s investor call following the release of its 2023 results.

“It has been unprecedented year for our business in Nigeria. We saw a significant decline in the mainstream lager market as a result of Nigerian consumers no longer able to afford a Goldberg after a hard day’s work,” Bloomberg quoted Essaadi as saying.

NB suffered a N153bn foreign exchange loss due to the devaluation of the naira for the year ended December 2023.

For the period under review, the company grew its revenue by 8.9 per cent to N599.64bn from N550.64bn. Net finance expense rose significantly by 449.7 per cent to N189.19bn, dragging the brewer to a loss of N106.31bn, from a gain of N13.19bn at the end of 2022.

In comments accompanying the financial results, the NB Board of Directors said, “The Nigeria business landscape experienced significant shifts in 2023 with substantial impact on businesses and livelihoods nationwide. The redesign of the naira notes which resulted in cash shortage that severely hampered social and economic activities nationwide set the tone for a turbulent year.

“High double-digit inflation rates (with food inflation at more than 30 per cent), removal of subsidy on premium motor spirit (fuel), devaluation of the naira, and foreign exchange scarcity further exacerbated the already difficult environment for the populace and businesses.”

He added that despite the headwinds, “The company was able to grow its revenue by nine per cent compared to the previous year aided by a positive price mix. However, the operating profit fell by 15 per cent due to higher input cost and one-off reorganisation costs despite strong and aggressive cost savings and other efficiency measures. Coupled with the impact of the devaluation of the naira which resulted in a foreign exchange loss of N153bn, the Company recorded a net loss of N106 billion during the year.”

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The board went on to state its preparedness to tap into its decades of experience of operating in Nigeria to weather the current macroeconomic headwinds.

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“In a difficult operating environment, the board will ensure that the company builds on its more than 77 years experience of operating in Nigeria to cope with current realities. The company will continue to be resilient and forward-thinking leveraging our broad portfolio, strong supply chain footprint and passionate workforce to drive long-term value creation for its shareholders and other stakeholders,” the board said.

In August, NB reviewed the prices of its products upward to accommodate the continued increase in the cost of inputs.

NB produces alcoholic products like Star Lager, Gulder, Legend Extra Stout, Heineken, Goldberg, Life, and Star Radler.

The Central Bank of Nigeria harmonised the segments of the foreign currency market in June 2023 leading to a devaluation of the Naira.

The effect was felt by different companies that recorded forex losses. However, the banking sector faired better as they enjoyed FX revaluation gains.

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Nigerian Breweries releases new prices of drinks

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Nigerian Breweries releases new prices of drinks

The Nigerian Breweries Plc recently announced an upward price change for its Stock-Keeping Units (STUs) with effect from February 19.

A letter dated February 12 titled: ‘Price review notification,’ by the Zonal Business Manager (West), Lekan Awosanya, reads in part: “This is to inform you that we are constrained to review the prices of some of our SKUs effective from Monday, 19th February 2024. This review has become necessary because of the continued rising input cost and the need to mitigate the impact.

“In appreciation of our great partnership and your commitment, we will deliver at the current prices all open orders that are fully funded and created in our system before 00.00hrs on Monday, 19th February 2024.

“While thanking you for your commitment to our great partnership, be rest assured that we will continue to support your sales/distribution efforts as always. For further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact your Regional Business Manager.”

Here is the new price list

1. GULDER – N950

2. STAR – N850

3. 33 EXTRA – N850

4. HEINEKEN – N1300

5. LIFE – N850

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6. LEGEND – N1250

7. TIGER – N750

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