Director-General, NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye
.. As Agency initiates strategy to end challenge
By Chioma Obinna
The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye Sunday said 70 per cent of food exports from Nigeria are rejected abroad, blaming it on the deplorable state of export trade facilitation for regulated products leaving the country.
Adeyeye who spoke during the commissioning of a New NAFDAC Office complex at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport/NAHCO in Lagos said the incidence has become a cause for concern for the Agency with huge financial losses to the exporters and the country at large.
She however added that the incidence of rejection of food exports from Nigeria in some European countries and the United States of America will 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.
Adeyeye added that a visit to NAFDAC Export warehouses within the international airport would explain the major reason for the continuous rejection of Nigerian exports abroad.
She noted that the Agency was responding to the 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.
“This raises the need for more enhanced export regulation – packaging, pre-shipment testing and certification to provide some quality assurance and minimise rejects.
To save our national reputation in international commerce, all stakeholders in the export trade should see this as a call to duty and collaborate with NAFDAC for the sake of the 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 the importation of the bulk of its finished products and raw materials could never have been actualized without the effective presence of NAFDAC at the ports and land borders,’ she said.
Adeyeye said: ‘’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 commended the Nigeria Customs Service for the symbiotic relationship that exists between its management and the Agency, saying ‘’without customs, they will not be able to do a lot of what they have been able to do.
“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)’’.
‘’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’’.
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).