The Director-General of the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mojisola Adeyeye, says she inherited a debt of N3.2 billion when she assumed office in November 2017.
Mrs Adeyeye, speaking at an online news conference to highlight the activities of the agency, on Tuesday, said, however, the debt has been settled.
“I am happy to inform you that we have been able to pay our debts and we are also training our 2,200 members of staff to enhance competence, capability as well as productivity.”
According to her, N7 billion was generated in 2017; while N2.5 billion and N3.1 billion were generated from the agency’s IGR windows in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
She also said that the agency was in dire need of an overhaul to achieve its mandate.
“About 80 per cent of the equipment in the agency‘s laboratories are not functioning, directors have no laptops to work with, incessant industrial actions and lack of utility vehicles are the many problems facing the agency.
“When I resumed office, it was like being thrown into an ocean of problems, so I started digging into why the agency got into such debt and how to get out of it.
“For 30 years as a professor, my life has been in the laboratory.
“I was shocked when I saw that 80 per cent of the equipment in the NAFDAC laboratories were not functioning. And everything the agency does requires laboratory tests – from water to drugs, food products, chemicals and others.
“We decided to review and overhaul our operations by adopting a quality management system which enables us to upgrade the ICT system to ensure online documentation, computerised transactions, e-registration and e-certification of food and drug products,’’ she said.
“I also met about 6,000 backlog of applications for approval of different products. We also adopted a ‘Customer First’ strategy and gave a mandate for the applications to be cleared within two months and it was done.
“Time of approval used to take months but when I came in, the duration for the approval was reduced to 90 days for food products and 120 days for drugs.
“It is very expensive to equip a laboratory as it costs between N270 million and N350 million for one piece of equipment in the laboratory. So, we started to save for the purchase of equipment while we pay off our debt gradually.
“We have seven laboratories across the country and we have bought eight basic equipment, it is not enough because the goal is to have 20 of such equipment, “she said.
Mrs Adeyeye said the quality management system and customer-first strategy adopted had helped to sanitise the agency’s budget and increased its internally generated revenue.
The NAFDAC’s D-G also said that the agency decentralised its operations across the country by establishing 23 directorates for faster and effective service delivery.
According to her, the agency resumed its operations at the nation’s ports and borders in May 2018 to prevent and reduce the influx of substandard and counterfeit products entering the country.
Mrs Adeyeye said the agency was working hard to attain the level-3 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Benchmark System that would enable vaccines to be produced in the country.