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NAFDAC Partners MSMEs To Grow Nigeria’s Economy

In furtherance of its commitment to Nigeria’s economic growth, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is poised to continue to encourage the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to harness the potentials of trade and investment for the nation’s economic growth and sustainability.

The Director General of agency, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, was quoted in a statement issued by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Mr. Olusayo Akintola, as making this assertion on Thursday in Lagos during the National Trade and Investment Summit, 2020 where she reiterated the importance of the MSMEs in the development and growth of the nation’s economy.

The food and drug industry regulator hinted that NAFDAC alongside other national stakeholders in the National Action Committee (NAC) for the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Agreement
(AfCFTA), was totally committed to its successful implementation, once it comes into
effect (probably, 2021).

According to her, this commitment is hinged on the advantages the pact to Nigeria’s economy and healthy competition and it will engender in the operations of MSMEs in the non-oil sector of the national economy.

Towards this end, Prof Adeyeye pointed out that NAFDAC had joined the train of the NAC Secretariat
that is sensitizing and building the capacity of stakeholders, particularly on AfCFTA Agreements
on Non Tariff Barriers (NTBs), Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Agreement on Sanitary
and Phytosanitary (SPS).

She said: ‘’This is in addition to her advocacy on the need to improve all the national and regulatory infrastructures that will reduce the cost of production and make the MSME products competitive in the AfCFTA Area. All our operations are set and ready to accommodate AfCFTA’’.

The NAFDAC DG noted that the economy of Nigeria is undergoing diversification from oil to Non-Oil products, stressing that the MSME sector would play a critical role to achieve this
transformation.

She explained that upon formalisation of processes, MSMEs would get involved in export of regulated
products including Food – Shea Butter, honey to mention a few.

To enable a platform for trade to be seamlessly she further explained that NAFDAC had been collaborating with sister agencies.

Towards this objective, Prof Adeyeye disclosed that NAFDAC on the 9th August 2019 held an interactive Stakeholder’s meeting on Effective inter-agencies collaboration to diversify Nigerian Economy through Export. The staff of the Nigerian Customs Service, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Nigerian Postal Service, Nigerian Shippers Council, and the Media attended the programme.

The NAFDAC boss expatiated: “Globally, MSMEs contribute up to 45% of total employment and up to 33% of National Income in emerging economies. In a recent review of 2017 survey according to National Policy on MSMEs, it was revealed that in Nigeria there were 41.4 million MSMEs. In the words of His Excellency 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”, she added.

Prof Adeyeye, however, emphasized that the significance of MSMEs in the nation’s economy
cannot, therefore, be over-emphasized, stressing that if enabling environment is provided, MSMEs could get the country out of the present predicament of unacceptable rate of unemployment, illicit financial engagements, insecurity, political and social violence.

“There is a need to recognize their role in employment provision and to encourage, grow and support the sub-sector.” she said.

The NAFDAC DG said that NAFDAC being an active member of the Presidential Enabling Environment Council (PEBEC) has continued to support the job creation agenda of the present administration in line with the provisions of Executive Order No. 001.

One of the provisions, she said, is to create an enabling environment for businesses, entrench measures and strategies aimed at promoting transparency and efficiency. The Agency carried out
a lot of reforms of its activities to create an enabling environment for MSMEs businesses to thrive, focusing on micro and small companies.

She, however, said that the agency had been ensuring that only quality products that are safe, efficacious and wholesome reach the market and ultimately, the consuming public.

According to her, this is achieved through vigorous regulatory activities including inspection of production facilities, sampling, review of labelling information, laboratory evaluation, post marketing surveillance, enforcement etc.

Prof. Adeyeye said that she has enhanced the processing of all NAFDAC licenses (Approvals, Certificates and Permits) to ensure efficiency and elimination of person to person contact, leading to the availability of end-to-end online automated processing platforms with outputs being digitized electronic licenses.

To further encourage the sector, she recalled that on the 15th May 2020, NAFDAC launched the assisted registration through NAFDAC Automated Product Administration and Monitoring System (NAPAMS) for MSMEs as a means in easing their registration processes. The launch ran con-currently in the six geo-political zones plus FCT and Lagos state.

As a proactive response to the challenges of CoVID-19 pandemic, Prof Adeyeye said the agency instituted palliatives for the micro and small businesses which included offering zero tariffs for the first 200 micro and small companies to register their products on the launch day
and eighty per cent (80%) reduction in tariffs for the registration of micro and small enterprises products for a period of Six (6) months.

The foods and drugs industry regulator added that waivers were granted on administrative charges for late renewal of expired licenses for products of micro and small businesses, adding that Micro and small enterprises within the MSME classes of business were encouraged at the forum to take advantage of these laudable incentives to massively embark on e-registration of their products and the feedback was
overwhelming.

She appealed: ‘’I would however like the Industry to support NAFDAC by adhering to the agency’s laws,
regulations, and guidelines while doing business to ensure quality standards and safety.’’

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