The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned members of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) against illegal importation of medical syringes.
The Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye expressed concern about the negative impact of illegal syringe imports on the local pharmaceutical industry, in a statement signed by the agency’s Resident Media Consultant, Sayo Akintola.
Adeyeye commended an undisclosed local pharmaceutical company for making a “huge investment” in producing syringes in Nigeria. However, she noted that the influx of imported syringes, despite high import duties, has led to low demand for locally-produced syringes, “causing over 1.5 billion units to remain unsold in warehouses.”
She expressed disappointment with some customs agents compromising at the port of entry, allowing unregistered containers of syringes into the country. She cited a publication by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that “syringes from Southeast Asia were of poor quality.”
NAFDAC also pledged to work with the customs agents to end the rejection of Nigerian food exports by the European Union (EU), the United States of America (USA) and other countries.
Adeyeye further disclosed that the agency had analysed the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) alert from the EU and observed that most rejected products by the EU having failed the relevant tests, were not having the appropriate documentation/certifications.
“I understand the challenges of not making sales, especially after investing a significant amount of money. That’s why I am particularly meticulous when it comes to overseeing our export processes.
“Nigeria has lost billions of naira in trade that could have benefited our people. About 70 per cent of our exports are rejected, food products especially. All these rejected products did not go through NAFDAC regulatory assessment. It disgraces us as a country,” she stated.
Reacting, the National President of ANLCA, Emenike Nwokochi lamented the negative perception of Nigeria products in the international market.
“It’s shameful that when you buy yam abroad they tell you it is from Ghana, or any other country in West Africa when Nigeria is the highest producer of yam.”
“We can’t do anything to help the Naira other than to increase the level of exports in the country to provide an alternative source of raising foreign exchange,” he added.
He said that the association was ready to partner with NAFDAC to ensure that only quality products were imported and exported, and to comply with the agency’s regulations and guidelines.
He also appealed to the agency to expedite the clearance process for regulated products and to reduce the cost of registration and renewal of licences.