NAFDAC evolves programmes to support small businesses

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By Mufutau Ojo

Abuja: Prof. Moji Adeyeye, the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says the regulatory body has evolved various policies and programmes to support small businesses.

Adeyeye, who spoke with newsmen in Abuja on Monday, said the agency recognised the critical roles Small and Medium Enterprises played
in the economy and deserved to be encouraged.

She said one of the policies put in place to encourage small businesses was decentralisation of registration process to make it less cumbersome.

She noted that “prior to 2018, all registration exercises were done in Lagos. However, having recognised the importance of micro enterprises, the agency decentralised registration of products and it is now done on zonal basis, including the FCT office.

“Also, the number of products being registered on zonal basis has been increased from 11 to over 80 different products.

“Guidelines and documentation requirements have been streamlined to make it easier for micro and small industries to register their products

“Companies manufacturing similar products can use one facility, that is shared facility to reduce cost of setting up factory, while timeline for registration of products has been reduced to between 60 and 90 working days.

“The facility requirement has also been reduced from four rooms to one standard room and a store.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NAFDAC was officially established in October 1992 to promptly address the challenges of rising incidence of counterfeit and substandard drugs as well as unwholesome food and other products.

NAN also reports that the mandate of the agency include safeguarding public health by ensuring that only the right quality drugs, food and other regulated products are manufactured, imported, exported, advertised, distributed, sold and used in Nigeria.

Adeyeye recalled that NAFDAC in 2020 gave palliatives to micro enterprises in order to cushion effect of the COVID-19 pandemic

She said the agency reduced the cost of registration by 80 per cent for small businesses while there was free registration
for the first 200 companies that submitted application.

The director general also said the agency waived payment of late renewal fees for three months for companies that had expired licences.

Speaking on other initiatives to boost service delivery, Adeyeye said NAFDAC was working on becoming a WHO Listed Authority.

“The WHO uses Global Benchmarking Tools to assess the agency and there are four Maturity Levels.

“Currently, we are aspiring to get to Level 3 which will permit our country to manufacture vaccines because as an agency we have to do Lot release which is a requirement for vaccine production.

“This will also improve trade because our products can compete favourably with products from advanced countries with stringent regulatory authorities.

“Pharmacovigilance which is the science of detecting, assessing and documenting adverse events has been strengthened.

“The agency recently launched the MEDSAFETY App for reporting adverse drug reactions.

“For example, as the COVID-19 vaccine is being administered on people and if there are reactions, no matter how little, they report it through the App which comes to the database.

“It eventually goes to the Upsalla Monitoring Centre in Geneva where adverse reactions are domiciled internationally. Reactions to other drugs are also reported through the App,” she said. (NAN)

Lawal Abdullahi-Jubril

Mass Communication Budding Expert