NAFDAC at 25: It is not Yet Uhuru, Says Ohuabunwa

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– As agency celebrates silver jubilee in style

For the National Agency for Food and Drug, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to fulfil its mandate as an agency of national development, there is still so much to be done in building capacity and internal competencies towards meeting the required standard in effective regulation of food, pharmaceutical, chemical, and bottled water industries, the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa has said.

Ohuabunwa, who was the guest speaker at the NAFDAC’s Silver Jubilee celebration, held at the Lagos City Hall, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos, on 28 March 2019, acknowledged the significant role the agency had played in the past 25 years in reducing fake and substandard drugs in the country, adding however  that the road yet untraveled was long for the agency.

NAFDAC at 25: It is not yet uhuru, says Ohuabunwa
L-R: President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa; Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye; and Immediate Past President of PSN, Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai, at the occasion.

His words: “There is still so much to do to get NAFDAC become a spectacular example of how effective regulation can be used as a veritable tool for national development. And listening to the current DG’s speech at this anniversary, it is reassuring that NAFDAC knows that the road yet untravelled is long. Hence her effort to build up capacity and internal competencies is on the mark.”

The PSN helmsman further urged the agency to improve on its responsiveness to customer mails, requests and complaints, adding that, as an agency that preaches standards, it must itself have standards when dealing with its stakeholders.

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“There must be enforceable timelines and waiting period for registration of products or receiving other approvals. It must continue to simplify regulations,” Ohuabunwa said.

NAFDAC at 25: It is not yet uhuru, says Ohuabunwa
Dignitaries at the occasion unveiling the agency’s new book, along with the NAFDAC DG, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, at the event

He also urged NAFDAC to continue to resist the temptation of turning the agency into a fund-raising scheme.

“It is common knowledge that the cost of doing business is so high in Nigeria, making our products globally uncompetitive. NAFDAC must be conscious of this when it fixes its fees. The concession in fees given to small businesses is a good gesture,” he said.

Speaking on the reason for the celebration, Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, said the agency had a lot to rejoice about, especially now that it is SOP-driven and customerfocused, adding that having attained level two in SOP, level four is its next focus.

Adeyeye noted that, under her leadership, the agency had been able to offset a N3 billion naira debt, while also blocking several internal financial leakages.

She further revealed that before her assumption of office, NAFDAC’s reputation had nosedived, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to consider it a shame of Africa.

She added however that the situation had improved considerably, as she had been able to put a lot of corrective structures in place.

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The NAFDAC director general also mentioned improvement of staff welfare as one of the achievements of her one year in office, noting that no organisation can attain enviable heights without good staff welfare package.

While announcing zero tolerance for extortion and corruption in the agency under her watch, Adeyeye flayed some members of the country’s National Assembly for seeking gratifications from agencies of the federal government, adding that she would not be threatened by such gestures.

On his part, the Chairman, Governing Council, NAFDAC, Esq. Inuwa Abdul-Kabir, appreciated all guests for finding time to felicitate with the agency.

He also commended the founding directors of the agency, who; he said, contributed immensely to its present level of success.

Abdul-Kabir mentioned names of NAFDAC DGs from inception, including Prof. Gabriel Osuide, the pioneer DG; as well as  the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, for bringing the agency to limelight.

Other dignitaries who graced the occasion included: Alhaji Aliko Dangote, chairman, Dangote Group of Companies; Pharm. Ahmed Yakasai; immediate past president of PSN; Dr Obi Adigwe, Director General, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD);  Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of Pharmaceutical Companies like – Sir Nnambi Obi, MD, Embassy Pharmaceuticals; Sir Ike Onyechi, Alpha Pharmacy; Dr Okey Akpa; MD SKG Pharma; Pharm. Nnamdi Okafor, MD, May & Baker; Mr Ebuka Okafor, chairman, Vixa Pharmaceuticals; Dr Ifeanyi Okoye, CEO, Juhel Nigeria Ltd,; Pharm. Olakunle Ekundayo, MD/CEO, Drugfield Pharma; Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, Managing Director, Pharmanews Ltd, and other stakeholders at the event.

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