Who would ever believe that NAFDAC will approve any food product produced in a private kitchen? Yes, MSMEs in the food sector can get their products approved right in their private kitchens. There are hygiene conditions though. Not only that, in line with the presidential mandate on the ease of doing business led by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, NAFDAC has approved a huge splash in the price of registering products.
16th of October, 2019 marked the beginning of a new era for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria. A major hindrance has been cleared. NAFDAC has unveiled itself and calling on business owners to register their products with NAFDAC by themselves without any need for agents.
Truth be told, many entrepreneurs have suffered untold exploitation and extortion in the hands of some staff of NAFDAC and some independent consultants or agents. Many have even turn some unsuspecting entrepreneurs into their breathing ATMs whenever they need quick money. Many self-acclaimed NAFDAC Agents and some staff recognise that the name NAFDAC strikes a chord of fear in the hearts of thousands of small business owners so they waste no time to use that opportunity to suck them dry of their hard-earned money trying to secure NAFDAC registration numbers for their regulated products.
Imagine a business owner having to pay extra NGN3,500 per product just for online registration. If one has 5 products, and each has three sizes, they count it as 15 different products which will cost NGN52,500…just for inputting details of companies and products on NAFDAC website!
Having considered all these problems that Nigerians, especially MSMEs, are facing, the management of NAFDAC led by Prof. Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, the Director-General, organised a 2-day Sensitisation Programme, in Lagos, on NAFDAC Guidelines for Registration of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Regulated Products at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) hall, Alausa, Ikeja. The DG has assured that the problems constituted by agents or consultants are now a thing of the past as she noted that NAFDAC has changed a lot of things on its website and made it more user friendly. At the event, some entrepreneurs still pointed the DG to some areas on the NAFDAC website that still need further simplification and clear categorisation and she gave everyone an assurance that NAFDAC’s website will become a place every entrepreneur would love to go to get their NAFDAC registration sorted by themselves.
The event was graced by notable personalities like The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Iyaloja General of Ikeja Local Government Area, Alhaja Apena, among others.
There were also present at the event many organisations and Unions like the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Technology Incubation Centre (TIC), Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Industrial Development Centre (IDC) and many others.
For an original taste of the good news served by the NAFDAC DG, below is the full text of her speech.
ADDRESS BY PROF. MOJISOLA CHRISTIANAH ADEYEYE, DIRECTOR-GENERAL (NAFDAC) AT THE SENSITIZATION PROGRAMME ON NAFDAC GUIDELINES FOR REGISTRATION OF MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (MSME) REGULATED PRODUCTS HELD AT LAGOS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (LCCI) HALL, ALAUSA IKEJA ON WEDNESDAY, 16TH OCTOBER, 2019
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this meeting with our highly esteemed stakeholders. This meeting which is expected to be interactive, is focusing on sensitizing the general public and specifically the operators of the NAFDAC Regulated Products Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise (MSME) Industry.
NAFDAC has a statutory responsibility to safeguard public health through the execution of its mandate. We are charged with the responsibility to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, advertisement, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled and packaged water, chemicals – generally referred to as regulated products.
Upon assumption of office on November 30, 2017, I resolved to consolidate the gains of the past and take the Agency to greater heights. This requires that our approaches to regulation imbibe best international practices and are aligned with global regulatory standards as we strengthen our regulatory oversight. With a very wide mandate, I do appreciate and recognize the broad stakeholder base of the Agency. In the words of H.E., the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, ‘MSMEs are the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization and inclusive economic development; and the most important component of industrialization as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
The Statistician General of the Federation and CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale in his public presentation of the NBS-SMEDAN National Survey of MSMEs Report, revealed that about 41.5million MSMEs were registered in the year 2017. The contribution of this sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country is huge hence the reason for government’s serious attention.
This sensitization programme is expected to provide a platform for discourse and exchange of information, which relates to our expectations from the MSME regulated sector and get feedback from you all.
EASE OF DOING BUSINESS AND MSMEs: The Federal Government of Nigeria on May 18, 2017 signed the Executive Order 001 (EO1) on Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the business environment. We have continued to work with the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) to deliver on this and improve service delivery of services to customer in a more transparent and efficient manner.
In line with the Ease of Doing Business, the Agency created the Small Business Support Desk (SBSD) whose function is to facilitate registration processes for micro and small business operators through engagements such as MSME Clinics, Exhibitions, NAFDAC Product Registration Outreach (NaPRO). One of the first milestone decisions made by the Agency on MSMEs is the 50% reduction in tariff for registration processing which has led to an increased number of applicants come forward to the NAFDAC.
DECENTRALIZATION OF REGISTRATION PROCESSES: The decentralization of registration of certain regulated products commenced in April 2018. This was done to make approvals at the zonal levels more effective and easily realizable for MSMEs businesses. This has been made possible after the creation of six Zonal, Lagos and FCT Offices all headed by Directors. In order to maximize the competencies of staff and overall output, some staff were transferred to man these Offices with input from the respective Directors.
Additionally, the laboratory analysis of MSME products are expeditiously treated with utmost urgency. The outcomes have been very satisfying as it has helped the Agency arrive at an improved official timeline for MSME registration as ninety (90) days. Sometimes, NAFDAC has been able to meet the timeline in about sixty (60) days.
For the ease of the MSME products exportation, the Agency has reviewed the guidelines such that applicants can make submission at the NAFDAC Zonal Offices and processed at the Ports Inspection Directorate (PID) within a timeline of 28 working days. This is believed to enhance the business and generate foreign exchange into the Nigerian economy.
QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (QMS): We are fully embracing institutional regulatory reforms for sustainability and are entrenching a Quality Management System (QMS) that is making our staff to think of the customer first in all its operations. This has led to certification on ISO 9001:2015 obtained on 7th June, 2019. Being a customer-focused, Agency-minded business strategy, the goal has resulted in continuous improvement in overall performance in order to provide a stable foundation for entrenching a quality culture within the scope of our activities.
INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY (ICT): To increase efficiency we have embraced fully the deployment and use of ICT in our operations. Our website has been revamped to increase transparency and we will continue to strive to build a more robust ICT platform. We have enhanced our communication mode with the use of more secured emails, with all staff activating their official NAFDAC email to ease communication with you our esteemed stakeholders as well as fostering internal communication.
MICRO SCALE LOCAL PRODUCTION: We have scaled down some of our processes for the micro scale manufacturers without compromising standards and put in place policies that will drive growth in the MSME sectors in line with ease of doing business, with emphasis on local production and the reason is not far-fetched. The number of documents, staff strength and room space was scaled down for the micro and likewise, the number of products they can manufacture. The boldest move made so far by the Agency is consent for use of personal kitchens to manufacture certain classes of MSME products under micro scale. ALBEIT, MAY I STATE CLEARLY THAT THE KITCHENS CANNOT BE USED FOR FAMILY COOKING, THEREFORE, THE HYGIENIC CONDITION MUST BE SUCH THAT SAFE PRODUCTS CAN BE MADE THEREIN.
SHARED PRODUCTION FACILITY (e. g., TECHNOLOGY INCUBATION CENTRE): Still in the spirit of ease of doing business, the Agency has put in place processes and procedures for companies with similar products and limited resources to use common facilities provided their products are similar. This initiative is designed to nurture new and small businesses by supporting entrepreneurs through the early stages of registration of their products. However, the initiative is restricted to MSME products only with examples being that of the Technology Incubation Centre (T.I.C), Ikorodu Development Centre (I.D.C).
ENGAGEMENT WITH THE INDUSTRY: In carrying out some of the core functions of NAFDAC, the Agency engages with you our stakeholders to ensure compliance with extant laws and regulations. This forum is one of such engagements.
We are aware of the Agency’s responsibility and commitment in growing local industries and her support for foreign companies doing business in Nigeria. In line with this, the Agency offers technical advice to manufacturers on matters such as factory location, grade of equipment materials, design / layout of factories and documentation requirements. Appropriate guidance and support are also given to establishments, depending on type and nature of products, intended for registration. Furthermore, the Agency ensures timely inspection of production facilities as soon as all prerequisites are in place.
We are appealing to the Industry to support NAFDAC by adhering to Agency’s laws and regulations. These are enforced to ensure that operations and activities are in line with NAFDAC’s and regulations and guidelines. Self-audit and regular reviews of product information and labels are especially encouraged. Companies should ensure that they maintain a robust system, which allows for effective monitoring and control of their products that are already in trade. This is necessary for effective intervention in the event of unexpected product defects, which may necessitate immediate product recall.
It is expedient to state emphatically, that NAFDAC Management discourages the use of Middlemen/Agents for the purposes of product registration as Applicants are welcomed to visit the NAFDAC Office/s nearest to them when necessary and could also communicate through established official channels like e-mails. I would like to mention here that the responsibility of ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of regulated products does not lie solely with NAFDAC, but with all stakeholders.
In conclusion, the Agency wishes to increase collaboration with various stakeholders to ensure that the regulator, the regulated and other stakeholders are all on the same page, which is in line with global best practices.
We are looking forward to improved consultations, robust interaction and dialogue with all stakeholders in this very important MSME sector. The overall aim of this collaboration is for the Agency to act as a guide and partner rather than policing the regulated and to ensure that the economy is strengthened through active engagement of MSMEs .
Prof. Christianah Mojisola Adeyeye PhD, FAS
P.S. – For further questions on the clarification of some points noted, kindly visit NAFDAC website or call any of their support service lines.