Says jail awaits fraudulent owners, clearing agents
Clearing agents and importers who collude to falsify the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) documents for their cargoes will face severe consequences, including going to jail, the agency has warned.
NAFDAC Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the warning during the agency’s virtual sensitisation workshop for stakeholders in the export and import trade activities at the ports, stating that the agency was determined to safeguard the health of the Nigerian populace and the economy.
“NAFDAC will not tolerate any unprofessional act from any of its stakeholders – importers or clearing agents,” a statement from the Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola, cited Adeyeye to say. “We shall take all legal means as an agency set up by the law to prosecute any erring stakeholder.”
She urged importers to always take responsibility to initiate clearance of their goods, and desist from entrusting the entire clearing process to agents, because when the agents run into trouble with regulators, they begin to cut corners, leaving the importer in the lurch at the end of a botched transaction due to failure to meet requirements.
“As we try to enforce compliance among our clients, NAFDAC has deployed improvements in its processes that will ensure auto verification of documents presented to the agency during clearing, place in the hands 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.
Adeyeye further advised all importers and clearing agents to complete every clearing transaction with the agency up to the point of generating NAFDAC electronic release notices.
She reiterated her commitment to modernising NAFDAC’s processes and institutionalising international best practices in the way activities are conducted in the agency.
She stated: “I wish to appeal that you comply with the fast-changing updates currently ongoing in NAFDAC. These include the issuance of electronic NAFDAC invoices, receipts, first endorsement notices and release notices.
“We are conscientiously working towards assisting stakeholders to achieve regulatory compliance by ensuring that these requirements are 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 continued the implementation of Quality Management Systems (QMS) in our port processes.
“This has led to a review and update of existing Standards Operating Procedures (SOP) 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.”
Meanwhile, NAFDAC said it has gone further to ensure that the Clean Report of Inspection and Analysis (CRIA) scheme was strengthened to establish the quality and safety of regulated products before they are shipped in from China and India.
Through this, the agency has since March 1, 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 to Nigeria, she disclosed.
NAFDAC had also intercepted a large consignment of over 200 containers of fake and substandard pharmaceuticals that were intended to be cleared from the ports and borders.
According to her, the uncontrolled influx of fake, substandard and unregistered products with negative impact on public health and safety, security and terrorism is traceable to the absence of NAFDAC at the ports.
“The challenge of internal security was traced to the uncontrolled influx and use of psychotropic medicines such as tramadol, and chemicals that could be diverted for terrorist activities,”
She added that since its return to the ports, the agency has also ensured that its electronic licenses were integrated with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Form M portal so that with just an approval reference number, one is able to activate the NAFDAC e-license for Form M processing.
It has also gone a step further to ensure the availability of the Ports Inspection Data Capture and Risk Management System (PIDCARMS) as a full online processing portal for the clearance of goods at the ports.”