Teddy Oscar, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed to third reading a bill, which seeks to include representatives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as members of the governing council of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
Read for the first time on the floor of the House on Thursday, May 23, 2013, the bill, which is sponsored by Hon. Bassey Dan-Abia, is to amend the NAFDAC Act, N1 Laws of 2004, which passed the second reading on the floor of proceedings.
In his arguments, while leading debate on the bill, Dan-Abia said that the “the bill seeks to amend the principal act to further empower the agency to carry out its regulatory functions, make it more effective and efficient, and bring it in line with current realities.”
The lawmaker also disclosed that he brought the amendment as part of his whole scale legislative overhaul of the organisation and system of combating the menace of counterfeit drugs and substances in the country to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.
“The amendment of Section 2 of the principal act is intended to make the representatives of the inspector general of police and comptroller general of customs members of the governing council of NAFDAC.
“NAFDAC, in its determination to eliminate counterfeit, substandard, obliterated pharmaceuticals and unwholesome processed foods in line with its enabling Act, recently constituted a high powered federal task force on fake and counterfeit drugs cum unwholesome processed foods, which gave birth to state task.
“The task force consists of members from the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, the Nigerian Customs Services and NAFDAC. This is necessary to engender inter agency cooperation, partnership and collaboration,” Dan-Abia explained.
The amendment of Section 8 inserts a proviso, which is intended to forestall arbitrariness and indiscretion in the exercise of the agency’s powers under the section by providing a statutory check.
According to Dan-Abia, the proviso makes is mandatory for the agency to seek and obtain the approval of minister of health before a new directorate is created.
Other amendments of the bill, which was referred to the House Committee on Health for further inputs, include sections 9, 16, 17 and 25.
While urging his colleagues to support the passage of the bill, he said: “the amendment sought shall not in any way whatsoever/howsoever tamper with, compromise or otherwise alter the original structure or operations of the agency, but on the contrary, shall embolden and enhance its capacity for quality delivery to compensate and compliment the agency’s inspiring performance.”
The bill is entitled: A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control Act, Cap. N1 Laws of the Federation of Nigerian 2004 and for Other Matters Connected Therewith.
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