An estimated N104 billion is being spent annually to the importation of energy drinks in Nigeira, a consumer rights protection group, Concerned Consumers (CC) said this .
The group which called for its ban, added that the importation of foreign energy drinks was inimical to local manufacturing companies of similar products, adding to the already high rate of unemployment in the country.
The Concerned Consumer convener, Ms Olufemi Odebunmi, argued that over 300,000 Nigerians would have been fully and gainfully employed if the market was allowed to grow locally
She estimated “an average of 1,800 and 2,000 containers of energy drinks are imported into the country annually. With each container consisting of 2,600 cases, at the going price of between N18,000 and N20,000 per case, the estimated loss to the country is over N104 billion annually.”
Odebunmi disclosed that more than 85 per cent of the market is dominated by imported energy drink brands. “The locally manufactured brands are all struggling as they don’t have international brand name and recognition to match imported ones. They are therefore disadvantaged and even considered inferior.”
Bemoaning the unpalatable effects, she stressed that if the trade continues unchecked, it will lead to closure of local industries leading to massive loss of jobs and scarcity of the much-needed foreign exchange, allowing the further depreciation of the Naira.
In a statement titled, ‘The Importation of Energy Drinks into Nigeria despite Proven Health Hazards and the Various Ban on Imported Juices,’ addressed to heads of relevant agencies of government, CC argued that “If fruit juices in retail packs can be banned, energy drinks ought to be banned and should be included in the Import Prohibition List.”
They called on relevant authorities including Nigeria Customs Service, the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Consumers Protection Council of Nigeria, Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) to be vigilant and discourage the unscrupulous importation of energy drinks into Nigeria which they claim will jeopardize the interest of the local industries and sabotage the national interest of the country. According to Odebunmi, “We are amazed that our health and regulatory and standard organisations are still allowing imported energy drinks into the country even after the debilitating nature of the damage to our health from these imported energy drinks.
She emphasized that part of the interest of import prohibition was to promote local production of same items, which can be seen from the burgeoning fruit juice industry in Nigeria which has grown in leaps and bounds from 2015, following its import prohibition.
“There are actually a few multi-national companies in Nigeria who have now engaged in local production of energy drinks but alas, they are considered inferior and therefore suffer poor and very low patronage in comparison with the imported ones that leads one to ask when is Nigeria going to protect its territory and its citizenry?” Odebunmi lamented.
She added that, “Concerned Consumers are perplexed by various developments in our polity which do not augur well for the health of the citizens and which is also discouraging local production at the time when the country should be looking inward and saving its scarce foreign exchange.”
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