By Oluwabunmi Ogunjimi
THE National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC has warned clearing agents and importers operating at the nation’s ports, against fraudulent activities as any form of trade infraction will be met with the stiffest penalty.
Director General of the agency Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye gave this warning at the stakeholders’ meeting held via zoom in Abuja said that era of Business as usual was over adding that the need to safeguard the health of the Nigerian populace and the economy cannot be compromised for any reason.
Adeyeye who addressed stakeholders in the Export and Import Trade also warned that NAFDAC would not tolerate any unprofessional act from any of its stakeholders be it importers or clearing agents. Adding that the disturbing development where agents and possibly with the connivance of importers engage in falsification of NAFDAC documents will not be tolerated nor treated with kid gloves any longer.
Adeyeye; ‘’We shall take all legal means as an Agency set up by the Law of Nigeria to prosecute any erring stakeholder.’’
She advised importers to always ensure that they make it their responsibility to initiate clearance of their goods adding that importers should desist from entrusting the entire process of clearance of their consignments to the agents, stressing that whenever the agents run into trouble with the regulatory authorities, they would always want to cut corners, leaving the importer in the lurch at the end of a botched transaction as a result of failure to meet the requirements of the Agency.
She explained that as the agency try to enforce compliance, it has also deployed improved in its processes that will ensure automatic verification of documents presented to the Agency during clearing.
The agency also concluded a reward system in place and profile low risk importers and other stakeholders in involved in international trade.
The agency boss also advised all importers and clearing agents to ensure that they complete every clearing transaction with NAFDAC up to the point of generation of NAFDAC electronic Release Notices.
She said; ‘‘I wish to appeal that you comply with the fast-changing updates currently ongoing in NAFDAC. These include the current issuance of electronic NAFDAC Invoices, NAFDAC Receipts, First Endorsement Notices and Release Notices.’’
‘’we are conscientiously working towards assisting stakeholders to achieve regulatory compliance by ensuring that these requirements are made transparent and accessible to stakeholders through the availability of Regulations, Guidelines, Tariff, and process requirements on the NAFDAC website.
‘’I have also ensured that we maintain transparency and continue the implementation of the Quality Management Systems in our Ports processes. This has led to a review and update of existing Standards Operating Procedures (SOP) and implementation of strategic QMS activities for ISO 9001-2015 certification and entrenchment of WHO Global benchmarking (ISO 9004) across all the Airports, Seaports, and land borders.’’, she said.
The NAFDAC boss disclosed that she has also gone further to ensure that the Clean Report of Inspection and Analysis (CRIA) scheme was strengthened for the purpose of establishing the quality and safety of regulated products before they are shipped from China and India to Nigeria.
She disclosed that the Agency has since 1st March 2020; when it commenced the new phase of the CRIA scheme, prevented the export of over 40 pharmaceutical and food products that failed laboratory analysis into Nigeria.
She vowed to continue to strengthen the scheme to better improve services to Nigeria Importers and ensure that only safe and quality regulated products are available for distribution.
She however, blamed the uncontrolled influx of fake, substandard, and unregistered products which negatively impacted on the society in terms of public health and safety, security, and terrorism on the absence of NAFDAC at the nation’s ports from 2011 by the order of the then minister of finance.
‘’The challenge of internal security within the country was traced to uncontrolled influx and use of psychotropic medicines such as tramadol and chemicals that could be diverted for terrorist activities’’, she said.