The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has challenged Shatta Wale and other celebrities who are threatening to defy their orders to go ahead and do so if they have enough ‘balls’.
Head of Industry Support Services Department of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mr Kofi Essel who is currently championing the ban that prohibits Ghanaian celebrities from advertising alcoholic products indicated that the laws of Ghana will drastically deal with persons who flout the orders of the FDA.
Speaking in an interview with Mzgee on 3FM’s Showbuzz show, the FDA official stressed that the fact that Nigerian celebrities are permitted to advertise alcoholic products does not necessarily mean that Ghanaian celebrities will also be given the mandate to do same.
“The fact that Nigerian celebrities are allowed to advertise alcoholic beverages doesn’t necessarily translate to the situation in Ghana. We have made concrete observation with the influence of celebrities on minors and we’ve come up with regulations that will safeguard our situation,” he said.
He reiterated that the FDA would remain steadfast in its quest to protect the future of the Ghanaian youth especially as they are been backed by the government of Ghana to carry out such initiative hence Shatta Wale and co should desist from defying their orders.
“There’s a law in Ghana which is the public health act of 2012, Act 251 and that act says that for the FDA to do its work, FDA have to draw guidelines and these guidelines have been developed. These guidelines says that you can not do this, you go ahead and try it. Let anyone go ahead and try it and we’ll see whether there are laws in Ghana or not.” Mr Essel dared celebrities
Dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale called on his fellow musicians in Ghana to join him on the street to unleash a heavy protest against the Food and Drug Authority’s ban that prevents from endorsing or advertising alcoholic products.
In a video posted on Facebook, Shatta Wale rallied a passionate call on his colleagues to join him in marching to the offices of the FDA and presidency to mount enormous pressure on the authorities to review the ban.
According to Shatta, celebrity endorsements serve as their major source of revenue hence FDA should lift the ban with immediate effect.
Why the FDA placed a ban on Ghanaian celebrities
About five years ago, the FDA made it known that celebrities could not advertise alcoholic products. It explained that the ban is an adherence to a World Health Organization (WHO) policy and efforts to ensure that minors are protected from being lured into alcoholism.
Kofi Essel, Head of Industry Support Services Department of the FDA in an interview said his outfit cannot lift the ban on popular figures endorsing alcoholic beverages.
He told Graphic Showbiz the FDA would not allow any popular figure to negatively influence the youth. He rather asked that celebrities should support the move instead of calling on the authority to rescind its decision on the basis that their incomes had reduced as a result of the ban.
“Can you imagine someone like Shatta Wale or John Dumelo endorsing alcoholic beverages for their fans who are probably below 18? What will they be telling them? The use of alcohol is as serious as guns, and I would rather plead that celebrities support the cause,” he said.
“Well known persons have the potential to influence their followers who are not legally permitted to possess alcohol or use alcohol. In view of that guidelines have been set to guide operations of alcoholic beverage companies, including advertisement of their products and this is the reason well known persons are not allowed to endorse the products.”