By Muhammad Bello
Stiffer penalty awaits organisations and individuals who deal in counterfeit drugs and substandard products in Nigeria as an executive bill is being proposed that would make the prosecution of such offenders possible.
President Goodluck Jonathan
A source at the Presidency told THISDAY after the meeting of the Economic Management Team (EMT) presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday that the move being contemplated is intended to support local manufacturers and protect them from unhealthy competition with those who imported inferior products.
The Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told journalists after the meeting that the decision reached by the apex government is that “we agreed that we must support the three agencies to better link their activities together so that they can work in concert.
“We also agreed to make sure they have the resources they need to execute the job, to support them to have stronger enforcement powers,” she said, noting that substandard products wherever they may have been manufactured could both be detrimental to consumers.
The three agencies that made presentations on how to overcome the negative effect of substandard products on the economy are the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC).
All the agencies were directed by the government to synchronise their activities with that of the Federal Standard Regulatory Agencies to work in order to tackle the menace of sub-standard products in the country. Okonjo-Iweala said government would give support to the organisations in the enforcement of regulations in the control of fake products.
Though she did not elaborate, disclosing disclosed that NAFDAC had brought down the prevalence rate of fake drugs down to six per cent from the 16.7 per cent during the leadership of Prof. Dora Akunyili.
Speaking in the same vein, Adamawa Governor, Murtala Nyako, said the Team was satisfied with the presentations made by the agencies and suggestions were offered to them to improve on their activities.
“What they need to do is to have more co-operations among the Agencies and improved funding from government to help them in doing their job,’’ he said.
Anambra Governor, Peter Obi said curtailing sub-standard products and dumping of goods into the country would help in growing the local industries
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