Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has assured members of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) of the agency support for them to continue playing their critical roles as a catalyst to Nigerian economic rejuvenation and growth.
Adeyeye, in a statement by NAFDAC Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, said the agency has always offered its unflinching support to members of the association, especially in the area required certification for NAFDAC registration.
Adeyeye said the micro-small enterprises’ sector has always been one of the most supported by NAFDAC, stating that the agency the registration fee for them by 80 per cent for six months last year.
She added that the first two hundred applicants received zero registration fee, while the rest pay 80 per cent zero registration fee.
“That is palliative which was not done to any other sector. In addition, we waived late renewal fees for those whose NAFDAC Registration licenses expired during the same period.
“We did it for MSMEs because they are very key to our economy. The COVID 19 pandemic might have slowed down some people who might have wanted to register. But six months out of the nine months of the pandemic in 2020 was devoted to rendering help to the MSMEs,” she said.
Citing the enormous contributions of MSME to the Nigerian economy, Adeyeye said the about 41.4 million members of the association are the bedrock of the Nigerian economy as they contribute up to 45 per cent of total employment and up to 33 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in emerging economies.
The NAFDAC DG, in explaining the agency’s registration process stated that the NAFDAC timeline for the processing of products for registration is Ninety days with resources and efforts put in place to meet this timeline. She said the agency has in place a robust e-registration platform called NAFDAC Product Administration and Monitoring System (NAPAMS), which has the capacity for monitoring and assessment of timelines.
She explained that some of the frequent issues from registration applications are labelling lapses, inadequate documentation, increased product analysis failure rate & product rejects, especially with highly sensitive products like detection of cyanide in cassava related products.
To limit this, Adeyeye said NAFDAC is training and re-training prospective NAFDAC applicants, including MSMEs members on principles of good agricultural practices and other relevant techniques.
While admitting that some of the MSME members are not very computer literate and have challenges in terms of e-registration, Adeyeye said the agency has put in place modalities to help them in this regard.
“That is why we talk about assisted registration procedure. We will help those who do not know how to use the computer to register.
“If anybody goes online to start our registration process, and encounter any problem there is an internet/online assistant that will ask, ‘can I help you.’
“I have tried it myself and you can type any request, which would be attended to online,” she said.
Adeyeye warned that there is no shortcut to improvement with technology or trade and advised that manufacturers should be patient and follow laid down procedures, especially in the area of exporting as NAFDAC will not compromise standards and the process.
She stated that it takes about 90 working days to get approval for the MSME manufacturers to get the agency approval but many people who cannot wait for this period usually complain.
Adeyeye explains that if on inspection to an MSME production site, and the place used for packaging of products for human consumption is found to be filthy, approval will be delayed and the applicant will be asked to make the necessary amendment.
“We will say ok do this or do that. If people are not patient to make corrections, they may feel frustrated. We have supported MSMEs to a great extent and we will continue to support them.
“Sometimes we want shortcuts. Sometimes, we do not have the patience to start something and finish it. No, it does not work that way.
“Some people that have products that they think could be exported, take shortcuts. They do not go to NAFDAC to test their products before they are exported. Thereafter, the government of the receiving country stops the product, and they reject it and destroy it. We all need to learn not to take shortcuts.
“The Agency will not compromise Global Best Practices and standards under the guise of placating its clients who have refused to follow due process to get the required identification certification. ‘’It’s our responsibility to safeguard the health of the Nigerian people,’’ she said.
Adeyeye admonished the MSME members to always ensure that they comply with all relevant government policies and regulations; collaborate more amongst themselves to jointly engage government constructively on issues concerning them, and foster unity and cohesion for increased resources in achieving better economic benefits.