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Drug Administration reads riot act to dubious importers

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC) has read the riot act to the clearing agents and importers operating at the nation’s ports, saying the era of fraudulent activities has come to an end with a view to safeguarding the health of the Nigerian populace and the economy.

Penpushing reports that, the Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye gave the warning at a virtual sensitization workshop organized for stakeholders in the Export and Import Trade activities at the nation’s ports.

This included National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Mine, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Customs Service, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Multinationals amongst others.

Penpushing further reports that, Adeyeye however, reiterated that the agency would not tolerate any unprofessional act from any of its stakeholders be it importers or clearing agents.

The Director General  added that the disturbing development where agents and possibly with the connivance of importers engage in falsification of the agency’s documents will not be tolerated nor treated with kid gloves any longer.

Penpushing also reports that, the agency in a statement by the Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola on Sunday, quoted Adeyeye as saying, ‘’We shall take all legal means as an Agency set up by the Law of Nigeria to prosecute any erring stakeholder’’.

The Director General urged importers to always ensure that they make it their responsibility to initiate clearance of their goods, and also advised importers to desist from entrusting the entire process of clearance of their consignments to the agents.

Penpushing reports that, Adeyeye stressed 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.

The agency boss said that, as the authorities try to enforce compliance among clients, the agency has deployed various improvements in its processes that will ensure auto verification of documents presented to the agency during clearing, place in the hand of stakeholders the ability to verify the true status of clearance of regulated products ‘’and ensure that we reward clients with low risk profile’’.

Penpushing further reports that, she however, advised all importers and clearing agents to ensure that they complete every clearing transaction with the agency up to the point of generation of the organization’s electronic release notices.

The Director General reiterated her commitment to the modernization of the agency’s processes and institutionalization of international best practices in the way activities are conducted in the Agency.

‘’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 agency boss added 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.

Penpushing also reports that, 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.

The organization boss, 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.

Penpushing reports that, Adeyeye noted that, as part of strengthening quality systems, the agency had also intercepted a large consignment of over 200 containers of fake and substandard pharmaceuticals that were intended to be cleared from the nations’ ports and borders.

The Director General disclosed that, these products could have been consumed by Nigerians with adverse health implications; but were intercepted with collaborative efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service, other security and sister agencies.

Penpushing reports that, she explained that, the growing concern with regards to the influx of unregistered products has brought to light the increasing need to continually improve compliance among ports traders and to also ensure that all stakeholders within the Port community work to achieve a safe and healthy society.

The agency boss 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 the organisation 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, adding that NAFDAC’s absence at the ports was highlighted as one of the factors and as such there was a dire need to return the agency back to the ports in 2018 as part of the efforts at strengthening regulation and control at the Ports shortly after she resumed office as DG NAFDAC.

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