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 seaports, saying the era of fraudulent activities has come to an end.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye gave the warning in Abuja at a virtual sensitization workshop organized by the agency for stakeholders in the export and import trade activities at the nation’s ports.
The stakeholders included the National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Mine, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and multinationals amongst others.
Prof Adeyeye said NAFDAC would not tolerate any unprofessional act from any of its stakeholders, 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.
A statement issued 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.”
She urged importers to always ensure that they make it their responsibility to initiate clearance of their goods. The NAFDAC boss advised importers to desist from entrusting the entire process of clearance of their consignments to clearing 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.
“As we try to enforce compliance among our clients, NAFDAC 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,” she said.
The NAFDAC DG advised 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.
“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 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,” Adeyeye said.
She further stated that the agency has gone further to ensure that its 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 said 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 further disclosed that NAFDAC had 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”.