The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has announced its intention to revise sanctions for exporters of substandard products. Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General of NAFDAC, conveyed this decision during a press conference on Tuesday. She expressed her dismay at the high rate of substandard goods being rejected in foreign countries and identified several reasons behind this issue.
Adeyeye cited non-compliance with NAFDAC’s advisory guidelines as a contributing factor to the rise in rejected exports. She revealed that nearly all food products exported had bypassed the mandatory testing conducted by NAFDAC. Consequently, some goods lacked NAFDAC quality control and safety checks, leading to their rejection abroad. Other identified causes included a failure to utilise NAFDAC’s previously complementary laboratory testing for export samples and unscrupulous agent involvement.
The exclusion of NAFDAC’s requirements for regulated products in the mandatory pre-shipment inspection under the National Export Supervision Scheme (NESS), managed by Pre-shipment Inspection Agents (PIAs) appointed by the Federal Government, was also noted.
Adeyeye observed that some exporters were reluctant to meet the minimal sanitary and phytosanitary measures required for countries with strict market access. She also pointed out that inadequate packaging by certain manufacturers contributed to the problem. Additionally, she noted a trend where exporters disregarded the importation requirements of their trading partner countries, and some preferred sourcing from open markets for exports without adhering to safety or quality specifications.
To address these challenges, following discussions with the UK Food Standard Agency (FSA), NAFDAC will be implementing six regulatory measures, with immediate inclusion and implementation of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Good Hygienic Practices (GHP), and laboratory testing for regulated food and drug products. They will also carry out NESS on some products as administered by PIAs.
Furthermore, NAFDAC will be included in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) export proceeds (NXP) form processing and collaborate with the Comptroller General of Customs to facilitate this via the Nigeria Single Window Trade portal. NAFDAC will strengthen its in-country regulatory infrastructure for exports and introduce the NAFDAC Regulations on Export 2022. Adeyeye revealed that these regulations are already available on the NAFDAC website, with exporters, trade associations, and professional bodies invited to provide their inputs and comments within the next 60 days.
In addition, NAFDAC will collaborate with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to regulate goods and continue its awareness and sensitisation efforts among export trade operators on NAFDAC’s guidelines for regulated products.