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NAFDAC Invests Over N6bn To Boost Global Trade Of Nigerian Pharmaceuticals

THE National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has invested over N6 billion from internally generated revenue over the past eight years to enhance infrastructure aimed at facilitating global trade of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical products, according to Mojisola Adeyeye, NAFDAC’s director general.

This substantial investment is part of a broader strategy to expand laboratory capacity nationwide and position Nigeria to achieve the World Health Organization Maturity Level 4 (ML4) and the World Listed Authority Status by 2025.

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These milestones are expected to significantly boost the international competitiveness of Nigerian medical products, thereby attracting global trust and purchase commitments from organizations like UNICEF.

At BusinessDay’s policy intervention series focused on NAFDAC’s role in economic development and transformation, Adeyeye highlighted the economic impact of achieving higher global ratings. “When we have world-based authority, medical products that we approve can be traded globally. Quality is crucial for economic development,” she said.

UNICEF’s procurement trends reflect this potential. In 2023, UNICEF utilized about 600,000 cartons of locally manufactured ready-to-use therapeutic food inspected by NAFDAC, a significant increase from less than 100,000 cartons in 2018.

Over the past few years, more than 20 local drug manufacturers have set up WHO-compliant facilities, producing quality essential medicines for Nigerians, marking a 12 percent increase in active local Finished Pharmaceutical Product (FPP) manufacturers.

As of February 2024, NAFDAC received 143 applications for regulatory review and approval of new pharmaceutical layouts intended for local manufacturing. Of these, 73 percent have received regulatory approval to commence construction.

However, naira devaluation has posed challenges, with only 35 percent of the approved projects completing construction and progressing through registration stages.

Adeyeye also discussed ongoing measures to ease business operations and meet global benchmarks. NAFDAC has eight new building projects underway in states including Oyo, Ondo, Rivers, Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, and Bauchi. In total, the agency is managing 26 projects, including four commissioned, five completed, and nine ongoing.

Projects are commissioned in Ogun, Osun, Kwara, and Lagos (NAHCO – import and export division); completed in Ebonyi, Yobe, Abuja, and the Yaba laboratory in Lagos; and ongoing in states such as Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Plateau, Edo, Delta, and Enugu, including a vaccine laboratory and office complex renovations in Isolo, Lagos.

To improve transparency and accessibility, NAFDAC has reactivated its Information Communication Technology infrastructure and digitalized regulatory processes. “Our website was not good, and we started rebuilding it so people could see as much information as they could,” Adeyeye said.

NAFDAC is also enhancing its regulatory inspection capabilities with the procurement of over 140 vehicles and ongoing infrastructure development, including state offices and laboratories.

Since her assumption of office, Adeyeye has streamlined the agency’s reporting lines and decentralized food regulation to facilitate business operations. Leadership restructuring has fostered a disciplined and motivated workforce, and plans are in place to establish desk offices across Nigeria’s 774 local government areas.

NAFDAC’s market control and trade responsibilities include preventing, detecting, and responding to substandard and falsified products in the market, controlling import and export activities, and ensuring compliance with statutory requirements at airports, seaports, and land borders.

Publisher of BusinessDay, Frank Aigbogun praised the initiative, describing the policy intervention series as a catalyst for the agency’s development.

This strategic investment and restructuring by NAFDAC underscore its commitment to elevating Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector on the global stage, promoting economic growth, and enhancing public health.

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