The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), is seeking collaboration with the Nigeria Customs Services (NCS), the Department of State Security, and others to promote Nigerian goods abroad.
The call for collaboration is contained in a statement issued to newsmen by the agency’s resident media consultant, Olusayo Akintola, in Abuja on Sunday.
The statement quoted NAFDAC Director-General (DG), Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, as saying that the collaboration would reduce the frequent rejection of Nigerian food exported to Europe and the United States of America.
The statement disclosed that Adeyeye made the assertion at the official commissioning of the New NAFDAC Office complex for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Adeyeye lamented that over 70 percent of food exported from Nigeria are rejected abroad with huge financial losses to the exporters and the country at large.
She disclosed that the deplorable state of export trade facilitation for regulated products leaving the country has continued to be a serious cause for concern for NAFDAC.
Adeyeye said that a trip to NAFDAC export warehouses within the international airport would explain unequivocally the major reason for the continuous rejection of Nigerian exports abroad.
The DG stated that the agency was responding to this great challenge, hence the initiation of a collaborative adventure with the government agencies at the ports towards ensuring that goods are of the requisite quality.
She said that the collaboration would ensure that goods from Nigeria meet the regulatory requirements of the importing countries and destinations before such are even packaged and hauled to the ports for shipment.
According to her, this raises the need for more enhanced regulation of export packaging, pre-shipment testing, and certification to provide some quality assurance and minimize rejection.
Adeyeye said that this would also save the country’s reputation in international commerce while calling on stakeholders in the export trade to see this as a call to duty and collaborate with NAFDAC.
She said that the collaboration was for the sake of the country’s image and future.
“The mandate is to safeguard the health of the populace through ensuring that food, medicines, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals, and packaged water are safe and efficacious, and are of the right quality.
“This could never have been actualised without the effective presence of NAFDAC at the ports and land borders.
‘’Our push through the resilience of the past Director, Prof Samson Adebayo, on the assumption of duties, for the immediate return of NAFDAC to the ports also assisted a lot.
“With gratitude for the approval of the President and the various arms of the Government, the results of our presence at the ports are available for everyone to see,” Adeyeye stressed.
She, however, commended NCS for the symbiotic relationship that exists between its management and the agency, saying ‘’without customs, we will not be able to do a lot of what we are doing.”
Adeyeye noted that the collaboration between customs and NAFDAC was a huge one, adding that NAFDAC is a complex organisation which work with different organisation.
She disclosed that NAFDAC is a scientific agency which works with the police, DSS, Interpol, FBI because of the few unscrupulous elements.
According to her, considering the money spent on getting those products out of the country, it is a double loss for both the exporter and the country.
Adeyeye said that without the police, NAFDAC cannot do much in terms of investigation and enforcement, adding that the agency has over 80 policemen working with it.
The DG said that the agency had embarked on the optimization and customisation of its processes, stating that the Ports Inspection Data-Capture and Risk Management System (PIDCARMS) had been deployed to the ports and land borders.
She said that they were deployed to automatically capture and process data for imported regulated products from the Nigeria Customs Information System (NICIS).
Adeyeye said that the agency was also working assiduously with relevant stakeholders towards implementation of Traceability for pharmaceuticals in Nigeria.
She recalled that a Traceability Pilot was conducted successfully for COVID-19 Vaccines distribution and a scale-up is being done as soon as feasible, for medicines and other regulated products.
‘’The Traceability Information System was developed from PIDCARMS, which underscores the integrative system of NAFDAC.
“These efforts will further boost our regulatory oversight in monitoring the importation and distribution of medicines to ensure that spurious, substandard, and falsified (fake and counterfeit) products are minimised from our supply chain.
‘’Similarly, our Post-marketing Surveillance initiatives that involve the Ports Inspection Directorate are gaining global recognition, and we intend to do much more for our nation, especially for future generations.”
She stated that the agency had extended the frontiers of the fight against substandard products through the procurement of more Truscan devices to check for quality of products at the ports, shops, market spaces and anywhere else.
According to Adeyeye, NAFDAC is a customer-focused and agency minded organisation under her leadership. It has ‘’steadily engaged in improving service delivery in the course of carrying out its mandate as provided by NAFDAC Act Cap N1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004.”
She said these efforts have paid off as NAFDAC has recently been recognized as a world class regulator, with the conferment of the World Health Organisation (WHO) ML3 Status. (NAN)