Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has said that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) were too critical a sector to be ignored.
A statement signed by the Agency’s resident media consultant, Mr Olusayo Akintola, and issued to newsmen on Sunday, in Abuja, quoted Adeyeye as reiterating the important role MSMEs played in the nation ‘s economy, pledging that the agency would continue to render its support to enable them continue to act as catalysts to economic rejuvenation.
The Director General (DG) said that globally MSMEs had contributed up to 45 per cent of total employment and 33 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in emerging economies.
“In a recent review of a 2017 survey on MSMEs, it is revealed that in Nigeria, there were 41.4 million MSMEs and about 99 per cent belong to the micro sub-sector, which is the bedrock of Nigeria’s industrialization.
“This is the most important component of industrialisation as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the federal government, the significance of MSMEs in the nation’s economy is critical.
Adeyeye urged entrepreneurs to be patient in obtaining NAFDAC’s certification before exporting goods, especially in the light of the revamped relationship between them and the agency in recent times.
“NAFDAC’s timeline for the processing of products for registration is 90 days and there is consistent efforts to ensure timelines are met, amongst which are the deployment of a robust e-registration platform.
“The e-registration platform is called NAFDAC Product Administration and Monitoring System (NAPAMS), which has the capacity for monitoring and assessment of timelines,” Adeyeye said.
She explained that If anybody went online to start the e-registration process and encountered any challenge, “there is an online assistant that is always ready help in case of any challenge during the registration”.
Some people who have products that they think they can export, take shortcuts and they don’t also go to NAFDAC to test their products before they are exported.
“Thereafter, the government of the receiving country stops the product, and they reject it and destroy it, we all need to learn not to take shortcuts.
“This agency will not compromise global best practices and standard under the guise of placating its clients, who have refused to follow due process to get the required identification certification”, the NAFDAC DG said.
Adeyeye encouraged entrepreneurs to always wait for a duration of four and a half months to get their products registered.
She added that some of the compliance issues that were frequently observed ranged from labelling lapses, inadequate documentation, increased product analysis failure rate and product rejects, especially with highly sensitive products.
However, the NAFDAC DG observed that the ongoing trainings and re-trainings of prospective NAFDAC applicants/MSMEs entrepreneurs on principles of good agricultural practices and others were yielding the desired reduction of such failures.
On the granting of approval for MSME production sites, the NAFDAC boss said that if a site designated for manufacturing and packaging was found to be filthy for the prospective product, NAFDAC would not approve such site.
She, therefore, admonished MSMEs owners to always ensure that they complied with all relevant government policies and regulations; collaborate more amongst themselves, to jointly engage government constructively.
Adeyeye noted that if there was a sector that had got the most needed support from NAFDAC, “it is the MSMEs, with the reduction in the registration fee by 80 per cent within six months in the year 2020.”
The first 200 applicants received zero registration fee, she said, adding that the agency also waived late renewal fees for those whose NAFDAC registration licenses expired during the same period.
According to her, the palliative given to the MSME sector in 2020 was not given to any other sector, because of its importance to the nation’s economy.
“The COVID pandemic might have slowed down some people who might have wanted to register. But, six months out of the nine months of the pandemic in 2020 was devoted to rendering help to the MSMEs”, Adeyeye said.