The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has said that products registered under it would soon enjoy patronage across the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, without further registration processes.
The NAFDAC director-general, Dr Paul Orhii said this yesterday in Abuja when the Italian ambassador to Nigeria, Bruno Cabras in company of the management of Italian company, Ferrero Group, which produces well-known brands like Nutella, Kinder and Tic Tacs, visited him in his Abuja office yesterday.
The company, which said it is buying $30 million worth of cocoa beans annually in Nigeria for the manufacturing of its chocolate brand, is seeking NAFDAC’s registration for its products to be marketed in Nigeria.
Dr Orhii said “we are also undergoing a harmonization within the ECOWAS region which will ensure that products registered in Nigeria can go to any ECOWAS country. So instead of 170 million Nigerian, you have a market of over 300 million people.”
He noted that NAFDAC had since made products registration available on the internet, adding that registration was not a big problem as companies that manufacture good quality products and follow due process were not subjected to undue delays.
“We guarantee that if you initiate your registration process, file all the required documents and pay the required fees, within 90 days if you do not have your approval yet but the laboratory test of your product is good, I can give you administrative approval to go head and market your products,” he added.
According to the NAFDAC boss, sometimes it can even be less than 90 days.
“We have given a fast track approval. The only requirement is that because we have to put up a special force to speed up action; we charge double for people who want to fast track their approval. Everything is straight forward.”
He assured them NAFDAC had put measures in place to make sure that products were not counterfeited as successful products in the market usually become the target of counterfeiters.
“Nigeria is a major producer of cocoa beans and NAFCDAC has done a lot in sanitizing cocoa beans production. There was a time when our cocoa beans were rejected overseas because they said it contains a high pesticide residue. We held workshops with cocoa farmers and educated them on how to process their beans by using approved pesticides and by 2010; we had cleaned up the whole cocoa market in Nigeria.”
He urged the visitors to not only buy Nigerian cocoa beans for export to Italy but establish companies that would manufacture the finished chocolate products locally as this would be cheaper.
Responding, the company’s agent in Nigeria, Tarek Chazli said NAFDAC had deepened his advice to Ferreri Group to come and invest in Nigeria because the country had lot of opportunities and procedures that are essential for a company that is the fourth largest in the
confectionary sector in the world.
“I think with the help of NAFDAC which is a very reputable institution, Ferreri will try to sign the right level of presence which will go beyond just trading in your cocoa, we want to establish
a strong presence here,” he added.

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