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NAFDAC, govt agencies’ synergy’ll reduce rejection of food export from Nigeria – Adeyeye



THE incidence of rejection of food exports from Nigeria in some European countries and the United States of America may soon become a thing of the past if collaboration between the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other government agencies at the ports is strengthened.

  Director General, NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, made the assertion at the official commissioning of the new NAFDAC Office complex for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport/NAHCO, Lagos, where she lamented that over 70 per cent of food exports from Nigeria are rejected abroad with huge financial losses to the exporters and the country at large.

  A statement by the Resident Media Consultant to NAFDAC, Sayo Akintola, on Sunday, quoted the DG as saying that the deplorable state of export trade facilitation for regulated products leaving the country has continued to be a serious cause for concern for her agency, adding that a trip to NAFDAC Export Warehouses within the international airport will explain unequivocally the major reason for the continuous rejection of Nigerian exports abroad.

  She, however, noted that the agency is responding to this great challenge by initiating a collaborative adventure with the government agencies at the ports towards ensuring that goods are of requisite quality and 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 a more enhanced regulation of export – packaging, pre-shipment testing and certification to provide some quality assurance and to minimise rejects.

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  To save our national reputation in the international commerce, Prof Adeyeye called on all stakeholders in the export trade to see this as a call to duty and collaborate with NAFDAC for the sake of country and our collective future.

  ‘The mandate to safeguard the health of the populace through ensuring that food, medicines, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals, and packaged water are safe, efficacious and of the right quality in an economy that is overwhelmingly dependent on importation of the bulk of its finished products and raw materials could never have been actualized without effective presence of NAFDAC at the ports and land borders”, she said.

  She recalled that this informed ”our push through the resilience of the past Director, Prof Samson Adebayo on assumption of duties, for the immediate return of NAFDAC to the ports that eventually happened in May 2018”, stressing that ”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’’.

  She, however, commended the Nigeria Customs Service 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 have been able to do. The collaboration between Customs and NAFDAC is huge. NAFDAC is a complex organisation. We are scientific. We are police and we work with DSS. We work with Interpol and FBI because of the few stakeholders that are unscrupulous. NAFDAC collaborates with Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services to ensure that due diligence is done because over 70 per cent of the products that leave our ports get rejected. Considering the money spent on getting those products out of the country, it is a double loss for both the exporter and the country)”. 

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  ”Without the police we cannot do much in terms of investigation and enforcement. We have over 80 policemen with us in NAFDAC. They help us a lot when we are doing raids or investigations as the case may be”.

  In pursuit of its mandate, she further explained that the agency has embarked on the optimisation and customisation of its processes, stating that the Ports Inspection Data-Capture and Risk Management System (PIDCARMS) is presently deployed in all of the nation’s ports and land borders to automatically capture and process data for imported regulated products from the Nigeria Customs Information System (NICIS).

  The DG said the agency is also working assiduously with relevant stakeholders towards implementation of traceability for pharmaceuticals in Nigeria, recalling 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 and are eventually blocked out 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 said.

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