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, 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 the agency had identified some of the reasons, including non-compliance to advisory guidelines established by NAFDAC to encourage participatory exports.
Ms Adeyeye stated that almost all exported food products were processed without the statutory testing by NAFDAC. According to her, some 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 and 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).
Exporters have a 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.
Ms 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 and poor packaging by some manufacturers.
She noted that many exporters had formed the habit of disregarding the importation requirements of trading partner countries.
She also decried a “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 tests such as mycotoxin, pesticide residue, and heavy metals certification for regulated food and drug products.
She said that the National Export Supervision Scheme (NESS) would also be carried out on some of these products administered by the 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 NAFDAC had engaged with CBN (Trade and Exchange Division) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (Home Finance) on this same matter.
She said the agency would also strengthen in-country regulatory infrastructures on export by introducing NAFDAC Regulations on Export 2022. (NAN)