By Chioma Umeha
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Friday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bank of Industry (BOI), Nigeria, for Collaboration to support Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) in the country.
The signing of the MoU is a climax of exchanges between the two organisations on ways to further entrench the policy thrust of the Federal Government on the development of non-oil sector of the national economy, said Mrs. Yetunde Oni, Acting Director-General, NAFDAC.
She said that the partnership would boost productivity of SMEs by ensuring granting of marketing authorisation to products that would adopt good manufacturing practice.
Oni said that partnership with BOI would enable NAFDAC to reach the grassroots, support more entrepreneurs, especially SMEs, toward aiding business growth.
The NAFDAC boss stressed: “The collaboration is a win-win for both parties. It is business support plus [BS+]. While BoI is processing the machinery and equipment needs of the regulated industry and at the same time rendering technical support to NAFDAC, NAFDAC is rendering to such industry BS+ and furnishing BOI with information necessary for decision-making toward economic development.
“Today I join my brother in executing the commencement of this very strategic and important MoU for collaboration between NAFDAC and BOI.”
The food and drug agency boss further said: “NAFDAC offers small business support services. In order to encourage small holder farmers, traders and entrepreneurs, to meet with minimum regulatory standards, NAFDAC created a small business support desk to carry this group on board.
“The group may come together to build a manufacturing facility where each member can produce his or her product as if s/he owns the facility. This is a great incentive to small holder business entrepreneurs. The products from such facilities (locally manufactured) attract only 20 per cent of tariff placed on imported products.”
According to her, NAFDAC has seven testing laboratories across the country and presence at the ports of entry and exit in the country.
These are in addition to about 2,200 highly resourceful, experienced and internationally exposed NAFDAC officers with academic qualifications in food science and technology, pharmacy chemistry, microbiology, biochemistry, industrial chemistry, pharmacology, with other administrative, legal, statistical – support staff, the DG said.
“It is all these resources that we are bringing into these collaborative efforts between NAFDAC and BOI,” Oni added.
Meanwhile, BOI has assured that it would not finance products not certified by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The Acting Managing-Director of the bank, Mr. Waheed Olagunju, stressed this at the occasion of signing the MoU between his organisation and NAFDAC.
“It is only certified products that can be sold in the market profitably. It is important for BOI customers to be accredited.
“Their accreditation by NAFDAC shows that they conform to best manufacturing practices.
“BOI is supporting many local pharmaceutical companies under Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to export their products because they meet NAFDAC and World Health Organisation (WHO) standards,” Olagunju added.
The Acting CEO, BOI said that the synergy would give his bank access to NAFDAC’s database to ascertain certified products before financing them.
According to Olagunju, the synergy will also facilitate economic growth by ensuring that Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) conform to best production standards.
Both organisations would leverage on their local and international development partners for the success of the partnership, Olagunju said.