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HomeHealthDon't Kill Local Industries, Stop Importing Syringes, NAFDAC Warns Licenced Agents

Don’t Kill Local Industries, Stop Importing Syringes, NAFDAC Warns Licenced Agents

as NAFDAC, ANLCA set to end rejection of Nigerian food exports in EU, USA others

MARGARET CHIDERA 

ABUJA, Nigeria – The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has admonished members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), to put national  interest  above personal gains in their activities as clearing agents at the nation’s ports. 

The Director General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the advice in Lagos  during a familiarisation visit by the newly inaugurated executives of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), led by its National President, Mr. Emenike Nwokochi, to the NAFDAC Lagos corporate office. 

The Resident Media Consultant to the Agency, Sayo Akintola in a statement on Sunday said Prof Adeyeye narrated how she marveled at the stupendous investments committed to local production of syringes in Nigeria by a local pharmaceutical company during a recent facility tour. 

She said that the standard of the facilities she met on ground was comparable to whatever facility that could be found in the US or any country in Europe, adding that after the facility tour and being led into the warehouse, she was highly disturbed at the sight of huge unsold products. 

The NAFDAC boss  told her guests that over 1.5 billion units of the product were lying untouched in the warehouse due to low sales, exacerbated by the influx of imported syringes into the country, despite the high import duty slammed on the product to protect the local market. 

Prof. Adeyeye however, noted with regrets that intelligence reports reaching her indicated that some compromise are being made at the port of entry in allowing illegal importation of unregistered containers of syringes into the country. 

She revealed that a publication by USFDA stated that some syringes that come from Southeast Asia are of bad quality, adding that those products didn’t fly by night and land in different warehouses in Nigeria: rather, they entered the country through individuals. 

The Director General  expressed empathy towards manufacturers, stating, “I understand the challenges of not making sales, especially after investing a significant amount of money. That’s why I am particularly meticulous when it comes to overseeing our export processes.”

As licensed customs agents, she emphasized their pivotal role in facilitating the legal and safe import and export of goods, ensuring compliance with required standards. She welcomed the familiarization visit, highlighting its objective to establish effective collaboration and cooperation.

“The aim is to enhance the positioning and promotion of trade in regulated products, both domestically and in the international market,” she said.

She also noted that the visit and discussion were important, considering the volume of food and agricultural commodities from Nigeria that is currently facing challenges at entry points in some countries in Europe, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, where they have been repeatedly rejected. 

‘’Nigeria has lost billions of naira in trade that could have benefitted our people. About 70 per cent of our exports are rejected, food products especially. All these rejected products did not go through NAFDAC regulatory assessment.  It disgraces us as a country.’’ 

She said further, that it has also become a great issue of concern the number of substandard products coming into the country. “That’s why I attach significant importance to this association because the goods that are either imported or exported, often play a crucial role in determining the strength of our economy.” 

In the area of exports, she said the international market is competitive in nature and only welcomes products of high quality with relevant certifications and quality packaging that is environmentally friendly and beneficial to trade globally, noting with dismay that the problem of quality, standard, certification and appropriate packaging for made-in-Nigeria products destined for export has been an issue in the international market.

She however, emphasised the need to address the issue of rejections, adding that some exporters obtain the wrong documentation, especially fake lab results, instead of bringing their products to NAFDAC’s ISO 17025:2015 accredited labs for analysis,

She maintained that NAFDAC is the competent authority in Nigeria charged with the responsibility to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution advertisement, sale and consumption of drugs, food and other regulated products in Nigeria.

‘’NAFDAC having attained the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems that covers all her regulatory processes and procedures and certified WHO GBT maturity level 3, places great premium on deepening use of science in its regulatory processes and self-developments,” she maintained.

The DG however pointed out that the Agency believes in collaborative efforts with both local and international organizations to compliment her robust regulatory policies geared in protecting consumers and promoting public health by ensuring that regulated products and the systems for their production are safe for the public.

The DG further disclosed that the Agency had analysed the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) alert from the EU and observed that most rejected products by the EU having failed the relevant tests, were not having the appropriate documentation/certifications.

 ‘She further stated that ’this calls for proper collaboration and synergy between all stakeholders to curb the negative behaviour of some of these exporters and ensure only quality and certified products are exported.’’ 

As licensed customs agents, Prof Adeyeye said they are responsible for ensuring that their members know the importance of the assessment of accompanying shipping documents and that goods are cleared through customs and all necessary regulations, stressing that by following the rules and regulations that govern the import and export of goods, they are helping to protect society, the environment, and consumers. 

Speaking in the same vein, the National President of ANLCA, Mr. Emenike Nwokochi lamented that ‘’it’s shameful that when you buy yam abroad they tell you it is from Ghana, or any other country in West Africa when Nigeria is the highest producer of yam.

As the Naira continues to fall to the dollar, he said ‘’we can’t do anything to help the Naira other than to increase the level of exports in the country to provide alternative source of raising foreign exchange.’’

He, however, pledged his association’s resolve to work in collaboration with the Agency to achieve the common goal of developing the nation’s economy

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