The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), says it will review sanctions for exporters of substandard products.
NAFDAC’s Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, said this at a news conference on Tuesday, while expressing displeasure at the level substandard goods were being rejected in some foreign countries.
She said that the agency had been able to identify some of the reasons, including non-compliance to advisory guidelines established by NAFDAC to encourage participatory exports.
Adeyeye stated that almost all exported food products were processed without the statutory testing by NAFDAC.
According to her, some of the goods are exported without NAFDAC quality control and safety tests hence their rejection.
Other identified reasons included the non-utilisation of hitherto free laboratory testing by NAFDAC for export samples, coupled with the connivance of unscrupulous agents.
Also identified was the exclusion of NAFDAC’s requirements for its regulated products in the mandatory pre-shipment inspection in the National Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) as administered by the Federal Government appointed Pre-shipment Inspection Agents (PIAs).
Adeyeye stated that some of the exporters were unwilling to comply with minimal sanitary and phytosanitary measures required for exports to countries with stringent market access, as well as poor packaging by some manufacturers.
She noted that many exporters had formed the habit of disregarding importation requirements of trading partner countries.
She also mentioned “penchant for sourcing from open markets for exports without any form of minimal safety or quality specifications and unwillingness to invest in pre-export activities that help to ensure sustainable export.”
The NAFDAC boss said to ratify all these challenges as part of the outcome of its recent meeting with the UK Food Standard Agency (FSA), the agency would be commencing six regulatory measures to address the situation.
She listed immediate inclusion and implementation, as a matter of urgency, NAFDAC Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Good Hygienic Practices (GHP) and Laboratory testings such as mycotoxin, pesticide residue, and heavy metals certification for regulated food and drug products.
She said that National Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) would also be carried out on some of these products as administered by the Federal Government appointed Pre-shipment Inspection Agents (PIAs).
Other measures she mentioned were the inclusion of NAFDAC in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) export proceed (NXP) form processing and engagement with the Comptroller General of Customs as the new administrator of the Nigeria Single Window Trade portal to facilitate this.
She said that NAFDAC had earlier engaged with CBN (Trade and Exchange Division) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (Home Finance) on this same matter.
She said that the agency would also be strengthening in-country regulatory infrastructures on export with the introduction of NAFDAC Regulations on Export 2022.
Adeyeye disclosed that the regulation was already hosted on NAFDAC website with e-copy sent to exporters, trade associations and professional bodies for their inputs and comments within the next 60 days which began on Oct. 11.
She said that the agency would also be collaborating with the Nigerian Exports Promotion Council (NEPC) as regards regulation of goods.
According to her, the agency will continue with awareness and sensitisation meetings with the export trade operators on NAFDAC guidelines regulated products.