Effect Of National Agency For Food And Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC) On Food Industry In Nigeria
This study was carried out on the effect of national agency for food and drug administration and control (NAFDAC) on food industry in Nigeria. The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) was chosen for the study. Since the expectations of the consumers are paramount here, the stakeholder approach method was used for assessing the efficiency of NAFDAC. Literature and previous empirical studies on the topic were examined. For representativeness, data was collected utilizing the survey research design through Questionnaire distributed to 200 respondents in some areas of Lagos Mainland in Lagos state, using the convenience sampling method. 187 copies of the questionnaire representing 93.5% were returned and usable.
Descriptive statistics was used to analyze the responses to questions regarding the efficiency of NAFDAC and a hypothesis tested using a one-sample T-test. The findings ran contrary to results from some previous studies. Instead, consumer awareness of the existence of NAFDAC as a regulatory agency and its functions were established, along with a high rate of consumer education. The assessment of its efficiency also showed a high rating. Recommendations were made that the study be replicated in other states of Nigeria and further studies carried out to evaluate its efficiency under previous and current directors for improvement purposes.
1.1 Background of the Study
Concern about the wholesomeness and safety of our foods has increased dramatically, particularly in those countries where food shortage is not a problem. Increasing understanding of, and interest in technological matters on the part of the consumer and organized consumer groups, coupled with a recognition that neither government nor industry can guarantee the safety of food, have lent support to this concern. Our food present dilemma is that technology has opened our eyes of possible dangers of which were once blissfully ignorant. It has done so on two fronts. First, it has enabled us to measure in trace quantities, substances that previously went undetected, and we have begun to recognize that many of these substances form the natural background of our food supply. But perhaps more important, it has increased our awareness of the universe of possible affliction and their apparent causes. No longer do we focus our fear on acute, lethal effects. We now worry about the insidious chronic effects which rub us our health and diminish the quality of our lives.
Various forms of adulteration exist in food trade. For example, textured vegetable protein may be substituted for meat, or bean flour may be adulterated with other cheaper flour. In certain instances, more costly vegetable oils have been diluted with cheaper ones or with non – edible oils resulting in cases of food poisoning with lethal consequences. Such practices must be curbed and any control measures on food should prohibit and penalize any such acts. Hence, the need for a food regulatory body.
Regulatory aspect of food is, in the main, an attempt to protect the health and pocket of the consumer, and to simplify trade at both the domestic and international levels. The policy designed for a food, invariably is derived from the various quality control measures which are exercised in the production, sale or importation of food. In other to achieve this, food laws must be enacted that will make provision for the legislating on the presence of poisonous materials in food, prohibit adulteration in any form and disallow the advertisement of misleading claims. It must also permit compositional, hygienic and labeling requirements to be stipulated, and the presence and amount of additives to be controlled. Provision must also be made to check dumping and for relevant regulation to he made. The penalties for infringement must be spelt out and these should be sufficiently stringent so as to be an effective deterrent.
Various views exist on the relationship that exists between business, government and society and the expectations from each by the other. Post, Lawrence and Weber (1999) posit that businesses exist primarily to provide good standards of service and products to the society as well as conform to basic societal rules, norms or values. Other responsibilities include obeying the laws laid down by government to guide or regulate their activities as well as, paying taxes to government.
This is to say, Government, business and society exist as a continuous symbiotic interactive system where, each has rights and owes responsibilities to the other two and all are highly dependent on each other for continued existence and relevance. Businesses like all living beings interact with other forces around them and their actions have effects on society and government; just as government actions have on Businesses and society. Both of them in their different ways interact with, affect and are also affected and influenced by the larger Societies in which theyexist.
The government responsibility however does not start and end with the society. It owes businesses also, the responsibility of providing a favourable environment for them to thrive in – peace, security and “fair” laws and taxes. In the words of Olebune (2007), “In any government-business relations, the question is, how can the government create an environment in which businesses are naturally motivated to make the right long-term investment decision choices?” This means the government has to put in place the right regulatory and legal framework to guide growth of all industries in the business area. In essence, the government is responsible for protecting the rights of both businesses and society such that the quest of self-interest by either party would not have adverse effects on the other.
1.2 Aims and objectives of the national agency for food and drugs administration and control
In a country like ours, which wants to stop the dumping of counterfeit and substandard products to avoid the purchase and consumption of unwholesome regulated products, it is necessary to regulate such products.
NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUGS ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL (NAFDAC) is therefore, saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding the health of Nigerians through the fight against the manufacture, important, distribution and sale of substandard drug and unwholesome food products in Nigeria.
Therefore, the objective of NAFDAC is the promotion and protection of the health of the Nigerian consumers as well as ensuring rational and fair practices in commerce in the materials covered by the decree through which they are established.
1.3 General functions of the national agency for food and drugs administration and control
According to (Section 5 of Decree No. 15 of 1993) the agency have the following functions:
- Regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals.
- Conduct appropriate tests and ensure compliance with standard specifications designed and approved by the council for effective control of quality of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical, devices, bottled water and chemicals and their raw materials as well as their production processes in factories and other establishment.
- Undertake appropriate investigations into the production premises and raw materials for food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals and establish relevant quality assurance system, including certification of production sites and of the regulated products.
- Undertake the inspection of imported foods, bottled water and chemicals and establish relevant quality assurance systems, including certification of the production sites and of the regulated products.
- Compile standard specification and guide lines for the production, importation, exportation, sale and distribution of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
- Undertake the registration of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
- Control the exportation and issue quality certification of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals intended for export.
- Establish maintain relevant laboratories or other institutions in strategic areas of Nigeria as may be necessary for the performance of its functions.
- Pronounce of the quality and safety of food drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals after appropriate analysis.
- Undertake measures to ensure that the use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are limited to medical and scientific purposes.
- Advice federal, state and Local Governments, the private sectors and other interested bodies regarding the quality, safety and regulatory provisions on food, drug, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
- Undertake and Co-ordinate research programmes on the storage, adulteration, distribution and rational use of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
- Issue guidelines on, approve and monitor the advertisement of food, drugs, cosmetics, bottled water and chemicals.
- Compile and publish relevant data resulting from the performance of the functions of the Agency under this Decree or from other sources.
- Sponsor such national and international conferences as it may consider appropriate.
- Liaise with relevant establishment within the outside Nigeria in pursuance of the functions of the agency, and.
- Carry out such activities as are necessary or expedient for the performance off its functions under this Decree.
1.4 Statement of the Problem
To the society as well as conform to basic societal rules, norms or values. Other responsibilities include obeying the laws laid down by government to guide or regulate their activities as well as, paying taxes to government.
This is to say, Government, business and society exist as a continuous symbiotic interactive system where, each has rights and owes responsibilities to the other two and all are highly dependent on each other for continued existence and relevance. Businesses like all living beings interact with other forces around them and their actions have effects on society and government; just as government actions have on Businesses and society. Both of them in their different ways interact with, affect and are also affected and influenced by the larger Societies in which they exist.
According to Blugh (2010), every legitimate government derives its power from the people (the Society) it governs. He further argues based on the Constitution of the United States of America that, the legitimate grounds for a government’s existence hinges on mutual defense of rights and mutual decision by deliberative assembly. They in turn therefore, owe the society/public a responsibility to protect them from unethical practices of some businesses by enacting government regulations to that effect; they protect the environment, human rights and other social interests. This they try to do through the different ways or control machineries and government agencies they employ. The government here can either be at the Local, State, or Federal levels.
Blugh (2010) posits that every legitimate government derives its power from the people, therefore its existence centres on mutual defense of rights and mutual decision by purposeful association. This means, since they were put in place by the people, they in turn owe the society/public responsibilities which includes, protecting them from unethical practices of some businesses by enacting government regulations to that effect.
Olebune (2007) agrees with this position when he argued that the government has to put in place the right regulatory and legal framework to guide growth of all industries in the business area. In essence, the government is responsible for protecting the rights of both businesses and society such that the quest of self-interest by either party would not have adverse effects on the other, through regulations.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD, 2010) defined Regulation as any instrument by which governments, their subsidiary bodies, and supranational bodies (such as the European Union or the World Trade Organization) set requirements on citizens and businesses that have legal force. The main aim of regulatory policies is to guarantee that the regulatory control works efficiently, so that regulations and regulatory structures are in the public interest. The organization also believes that these regulations and structures should address happenings in the private sector, as well as the public establishments and government agencies. This is because they are important in determining what happens in the economy and the society at large. To achieve this, structures must be put in place by the government to assess conformity or adherence to laid-down regulations. Also, attention should be paid to consumers’ needs and complaints to protect them from unethical practices of business organizations (OECD,2010).
In Nigeria however, according to Ekanem (2011), the prevalence of fake, substandard, defective and adulterated products is alarming. The quality of services and goods rendered or available to the consumer leaves much to be desired as they are below the regulated standards. In addition, a report by NAFDAC in 2003 stated that the problem of adulterated and fake drugs was so bad that, neighboring countries such as Ghana
Nwaizugbo and Ogbunankwor (2013), posit that it is doubtful if regulatory agencies set up by government are achieving the mandate for which they were set up. They argue that records in Nigeria show that, consumers do not still know their rights and some who do are unaware of the particular agency to complain to. In addition, it is believed that some of these agencies are ill-equipped to provide adequate surveillance in eradicating fake and substandard products from Nigerian markets. As a result, studies by Alabi, 1996; UNODCCP, 1999; Mambula, 2002; Daily Independent, 2010 (in Nwaizugbo and Ogbunankwor, 2013) concluded that Nigerian consumers are the most abused inAfrica.
1.5 Objectives of the Study
This study is aimed at determining how efficiently the government in Nigeria is fulfilling its responsibility to the society (here represented by the consumers), in protecting them from the unscrupulous activities of businesses, through a government regulatory agency. The government agency chosen for this study is the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
- To find out if the consumers know or feel that it is a responsibility of the government of a nation to protect them from unethical business practices through regulations.
- To find out the extent to which NAFADC have made itself known or educated the Public on their existence and functions.
- To find out if consumers derive any benefit from the existence and activities of NAFDAC.
- To find out the extent to which the consumers feel that NAFDAC has fulfilled the purpose of its existence?
1.6 Research questions
To achieve or address the objectives of this study, the following questions would need to be answered.
- Do the consumers know or feel that it is a responsibility of the government of a nation to protect them from unethical business practices through regulations?
- To what extent has NAFADC made itself known or educated the Public on their existence and functions?
- Do consumers derive any benefit from the existence and activities of NAFDAC?
- To what extent do the consumers feel that NAFDAC has fulfilled the purpose of its existence?
Ho1: NAFDAC has not efficiently fulfilled its mandate of effective administration and control of quality of foods, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals and packaged water.
1.8 Significance of the study
This study is needed because though there have been various studies on consumerism, studies on government regulations for consumer protection are few. Also, it is justified considering the fact that, the main aim of a regulatory policy is to guarantee that the regulatory control (agencies or tools) works effectively and that they are in the interest of the public (OECD, 2010). Studies to ascertain if this is the case with government regulatory agencies in Nigeria are almostnon-existent.
This study is significant as it would attempt to ascertain if the government is fulfilling its duty of providing protection for the consumer, by assessing the efficiency (from the viewpoint of the external stakeholders, mainly represented by the consumers) of NAFDAC, one of its regulatory agencies set up for that purpose. Where the result is negative, the government would see the need to put control measures in place, to address the anomaly.
Discussions, Conclusions And Recommendations
Data analysis results show that majority of the respondents represented by 65.8% have a first degree, its equivalent and above. This shows a high level of formal education and its attendant benefits of reliability of responses to survey questions. This is because it is expected with this level of formal education; they have a comprehensive understanding of the subject of discussion. On the question of how knowledgeable the consumers are of the responsibility of the government to protect them from unethical business practices; the results show that almost all the respondents represented by over 95% in each case know that, they need protection from unethical business behaviour and that it is the responsibility of the government to provide such through regulations. This runs contrary to the results of the studies by Agbonifoh and Edoreh (1993) and Monye (2006); which reported that consumer awareness level of their rights in Nigeria is low. Also, that though a lot of them have experienced disappointment or dissatisfaction in one way or the other, a dismally low percentage of them has sought redress. This they attributed to low levels of formal education.
The second objective of this study is to ascertain the level of consumers’ awareness of the existence and functions of NAFDAC. In addition to this, the level of patronage by respondents or other persons known to them and awareness of NAFDAC activities in enhancing efficiency is rated by the respondents. Also, the medium through which the consumers became aware of the existence and functions is ascertained.
The findings on the second objective of this study revealed that the government in Nigeria realizes that it is its responsibility to provide protection for its citizens. As a result, it has not only promulgated laws and decrees but also, has regulatory agencies like NAFDAC in place to ensure compliance. In addition, consumers are made aware of the existence of these agencies and their functions, so they could patronize them. These are reflected in Tables 3 and 4 above showing that the respondents know what functions NAFDAC exists to fulfill. The results on Table 4 reveal that NAFDAC succeeded in their strategy of creating consumer awareness of their existence through awareness campaigns on various media, particularly the Radio and Television. 72.7% of the respondents traced their awareness to this source. The other sources of awareness which accounted for 19.2% were campaigns in the markets and at shopping centres, Newspapers and magazines, and through friends and associates. 4.3% of the respondents became aware through more than one source. This shows that only less than 9% of the respondents were unaware of the agency’sexistence.
The above results support the assertion by Al-Ghamdi et al. (2007), Ekanem (2011) and Ayozie (2013) that there are various government regulations and regulatory agencies in place in Nigeria to protect the consumers, but runs contrary to the submission by Odumodu (2012) which states that, though the government has regulations in place, there is no institution to enforcethem.
The effectiveness of these agencies was also brought under scrutiny. Contrary to the conclusion of the studies by Ekanem (2011) and Nwaizugbo and Ogbunankwor (2013), reporting inefficiency of most government regulatory agencies, the results of this study showed that most of the respondents were of the opinion that NAFDAC is efficiently fulfilling all its objectives. These include protecting the consumer from getting injured by unethical business practices; efficiently conducting appropriate tests in ensuring compliance with approved standards and specifications; efficiently managing the registration of food, drugs, medical devices, bottled water and chemicals and is achieving results in the fight against counterfeit drugs by responding positively and promptly to customer/public reports about violations of their standards by businesses. The results of the open-ended question on whether the respondents have benefited directly from the activities of NAFDAC revealed that, only 64.7% of the respondents were in affirmation. From all the above, it is concluded that NAFDAC as a government regulatory agency is efficiently fulfilling the purpose of its existence, to a large extent. There is however a need for the government to still look into areas where they are deficient, to make room for improvement. This is because the mean ranging from 3.163 to 3.5722 on consumer rating of their efficiency on a 5-point scale, shows NAFADAC has not ”arrived” in gaining total consumer recognition of its efficiency. Also, the verbal comments of a few respondents as to the seeming decline in their rate of efficiency after the exit of Prof. Akunyili, should not bedisregarded.
Since this study was limited to only certain areas of Lagos State, it may not truly represent the assessment of the entire sample population, which is Nigeria. “Another limitation of this study is that though a quantitative research design was employed, a non-probability sampling method was used in gathering data. This therefore prevents generalisations about the population of study. It is therefore recommended that the studies be replicated in the other states in Nigeria. Also, studies using a probability sampling method, like random instead of convenience used in this study should be carried out. Further studies could in addition be carried out”, to compare the performance of NAFDAC under its previous and current directors, the reasons for the decline (if any) identified, and machinery set in place to correct and improve on the current position.
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