Thursday, 13 January 2022

NAFDAC Sensitises MSMEs On Guidelines For Registration Of Regulated Products



The National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday organised a sensitisation programme on its guidelines for registration of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) regulated products at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Hall, Ikeja, Lagos.

Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, Director-General, NAFDAC, said the aim of the programme was to sensitise the public and specifically the operators of the NAFDAC Regulated Products Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise (MSME) Industry.

Prof. Adeyeye said that NAFDAC has a statutory responsibility to safeguard public health through the execution of its mandate which is to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled and packaged water, chemicals – generally referred to as regulated products.

She said that on assumption of office on November 30, 2017, she resolved to consolidate the gains of the past and take the agency to greater heights.

“This requires that our approaches to regulation imbibe best international practices and are aligned with global regulatory standards as we strengthen our regulatory oversight. With a very wide mandate, I do appreciate and recognise the broad stakeholder base of the agency.

“In the words of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, ‘MSMEs are the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialisation and inclusive economic development; and the most important component of industrialisation as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“The Statistician General of the Federation and CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale, in his public presentation of the NBS-SMEDAN National Survey of MSMEs Report, revealed that about 41.5 million MSMEs were registered in the year 2017. The contribution of this sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country is huge hence the reason for government’s serious attention,” she said.

She said the sensitization programme was to provide a platform for discourse and exchange of information, which relates to NAFDAC’s expectations from the MSME regulated sector and get feedback from them all.

Prof Adeyeye said that since the Federal Government on May 18, 2017 signed the Executive Order 001 (EO1) on Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the business environment, NAFDAC has continued to work with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to deliver on this and improve service delivery of services to customer in a more transparent and efficient manner.

“In line with the Ease of Doing Business, the agency created the Small Business Support Desk (SBSD) whose function is to facilitate registration processes for micro and small business operators through engagements such as MSME Clinics, Exhibitions, NAFDAC Product Registration Outreach (NaPRO).  One of the first milestone decisions made by the agency on MSMEs is the 50 percent reduction in tariff for registration processing which has led to an increased number of applicants coming forward to the NAFDAC,” she said.

Adeyeye said the decentralisation of registration of certain regulated products commenced in April 2018, and was done to make approvals at the zonal levels more effective and easily realisable for MSMEs businesses.

“This has been made possible after the creation of six Zonal, Lagos and FCT Offices all headed by directors. In order to maximise the competencies of staff and overall output, some staff were transferred to man these offices with input from the respective directors.

“Additionally, the laboratory analyses of MSME products are expeditiously treated with utmost urgency. The outcomes have been very satisfying as it has helped the agency to arrive at an improved official timeline for MSME registration as 90 days. Sometimes, NAFDAC has been able to meet the timeline in about 60 days,” she said.

For the ease of the MSME products exportation, Adeyeye said the agency has reviewed the guidelines such that applicants can make submission at the NAFDAC Zonal Offices and process at the Ports Inspection Directorate (PID) within a timeline of 28 working days.

“This is believed to enhance the business and generate foreign exchange into the Nigerian economy,” she said.

Adeyeye said NAFDAC was fully embracing institutional regulatory reforms for sustainability and entrenching a Quality Management System (QMS) that is making the staff to think of the customer first in all its operations.

“This has led to certification on ISO 9001:2015 obtained on June 7, 2019.  Being a customer-focused, Agency-minded business strategy, the goal has resulted in continuous improvement in overall performance in order to provide a stable foundation for entrenching a quality culture within the scope of our activities,” she said.

Adyeye also said that to increase efficiency NAFDAC has embraced fully the deployment and use of ICT in its operations.

“Our website has been revamped to increase transparency and we will continue to strive to build a more robust ICT platform.  We have enhanced our communication mode with the use of more secured emails, with all staff activating their official NAFDAC email to ease communication with you our esteemed stakeholders as well as fostering internal communication,” she said.

She said NAFDAC has scaled down some of the processes for the micro scale manufacturers without compromising standards and put in place policies that would drive growth in the MSME sectors in line with ease of doing business, with emphasis on local production and the reason is not far-fetched.

She said the number of documents; staff strength and room space was scaled down for the micro and likewise, the number of products they can manufacture. She said the boldest move made so far by the agency was consent for use of personal kitchens to manufacture certain classes of MSME products under micro scale.

“Albeit, may I state clearly that the kitchens cannot be used for family cooking, therefore, the hygienic condition must be such that safe products can be made therein,” she emphasised.

“Still in the spirit of ease of doing business, the agency has put in place processes and procedures for companies with similar products and limited resources to use common facilities provided their products are similar. This initiative is designed to nurture new and small businesses by supporting entrepreneurs through the early stages of registration of their products. However, the initiative is restricted to MSME products only with examples being that of the Technology Incubation Centre (T.I.C), Ikorodu Development Centre (I.D.C).

“In carrying out some of the core functions of NAFDAC, the Agency engages with you our stakeholders to ensure compliance with extant laws and regulations. This forum is one of such engagements.

“We are aware of the agency’s responsibility and commitment in growing local industries and her support for foreign companies doing business in Nigeria. In line with this, the agency offers technical advice to manufacturers on matters such as factory location, grade of equipment materials, design / layout of factories and documentation requirements.  Appropriate guidance and support are also given to establishments, depending on type and nature of products, intended for registration. Furthermore, the Agency ensures timely inspection of production facilities as soon as all prerequisites are in place.

“We are appealing to the industry to support NAFDAC by adhering to agency’s laws and regulations. These are enforced to ensure that operations and activities are in line with NAFDAC’s and regulations and guidelines. Self-audit and regular reviews of product information and labels are especially encouraged. Companies should ensure that they maintain a robust system, which allows for effective monitoring and control of their products that are already in trade. This is necessary for effective intervention in the event of unexpected product defects, which may necessitate immediate product recall,” Adeyeye said.

She emphasised that NAFDAC Management discourages the use of middlemen/agents for the purposes of product registration as applicants are welcomed to visit the NAFDAC Office/s nearest to them when necessary and could also communicate through established official channels like e-mails.

“I would like to mention here that the responsibility of ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of regulated products does not lie solely with NAFDAC, but with all stakeholders. In conclusion, the agency wishes to increase collaboration with various stakeholders to ensure that the regulator, the regulated and other stakeholders are all on the same page, which is in line with global best practices.

“We are looking forward to improved consultations, robust interaction and dialogue with all stakeholders in this very important MSME sector. The overall aim of this collaboration is for the agency to act as a guide and partner rather than policing the regulated and to ensure that the economy is strengthened through active engagement of MSMEs,” the NAFDAC boss said.

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