By Raphael Ede
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has clarified that the Nigeria yams recently rejected in the international market was a result of poor storage and not quality.
The Acting Director General of NAFDAC, Mr. Ademola Mogbojuri, who gave the clarification during a stakeholders’ consultative forum in Enugu, announced that seven major laboratories of the agency have now obtained international accreditation to certify food, agricultural and pharmaceutical products for local and export markets.
The acting D G, who was represented by the Director of Special Duties in the agency, Dr. Jimoh Abubakar, announced a new focus of the regulatory body, which he said was to promote ease of doing business, especially by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.
Mogbojuri said “recently, people were talking about our yam products being rejected, even though they are doing some politics around it; that yam product like the Minister of Agriculture has noted, was not rejected on grounds of quality, it passed through (certification) before it went there, it
was because of the storage condition.
“As I speak with you all the major seven NAFDAC laboratories all over the country; we have in Maiduguri, two in Lagos, and we have in Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Kaduna, and also at Agulu in Anambra. These laboratories have all obtained international accreditation,” he said.
The agency announced that as part of efforts to promote ease of doing business for MSMEs it has reduced cost of registration of products by 50 per cent; decentalised registration points to all the zonal offices, as against earlier practice of people going to Lagos; reduced registration time to 90 days or less; offers free consultancy services to small businesses; charges no fee for inspection, laboratory analysis and export license when exporting products; and ensuring that bread registration is obtained within 30 days, among other things.
“With this unbundling of registration procedure, it is hoped that 75 per cent of the problem would have been resolved, particularly for MSMEs in Nigeria.
Some stakeholders, including Pastor Peter Blessed Okonkwo, a sachet water producer; Ms Ozoalor Comfort of Zandana Farms; and Pharm. Ngozi Nwagu, a drug manufacturer, commended NAFDAC for introducing
innovations to help MSMEs and called for further assistance in removing all remaining bottlenecks in products registration as well as solving the challenge of multiple regulation/ control and multiple taxation.