The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and its member companies have tasked regulators with the removal of bureaucratic bottlenecks limiting the efficiency and operations of businesses in the country.
Presenting the outcome of a survey titled, ‘Transactional Accountability, Process Consistency and Operational Transparency- A Report on NAFDAC,’ small businesses urged the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other regulators to remove bottlenecks that increase the cost of doing business in the country.
The report, which was carried out by the LCCI with the support of the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) showed that though satisfied with the services rendered by NAFDAC, surveyed businesses operating in Lagos, Kano and Aba, want improved service delivery with red tapes removed.
The findings of the survey, which was presented by the Co-founder and Executive Director of The Convention on Business Integrity (CBI), Soji Apampa, also showed that 60 per cent of the respondents claimed that the impact of transactional corruption on the percentage increase in their cost of doing business is between five per cent and 10 per cent.
The activities of the NAFDAC that were surveyed were laboratory analysis, product investigations, registration of products, and obtaining permits.
The survey also showed that some respondents declined to make informal and un-receipted payments while others did.
The survey stated that 64.2 per cent of the respondent who indulged in informal payments did so to say ‘thank you’ and get their matter dealt with in a fast track manner.
“A smaller number did it to reduce liability having flouted the provisions of NAFDAC. Some already indicted paid to remove sanction while 7.8 per cent paid to get the ‘correct’ interpretation of the regulations and the laws,” Apampa said.
“In terms of satisfaction, 67 per cent of respondents claimed that they were satisfied with services rendered by NAFDAC, which is not a bad position for any regulatory agency in Nigeria.
“If you go by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the United Nations’ ODC survey on major government agencies in Nigeria, which is done every two years, you will find that the levels of dissatisfaction are very acute with some specific MDAs in the country. So, the NAFDAC is one of the better performing MDAs in the country”, he added.
The President of the LCCI, Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, who unveiled the report of the survey during the virtual Public-Private Dialogue meeting that was organised by the LCCI in partnership with CBI and the CIPE, said that the aim was to foster effective regulatory support that could spur businesses to thrive in the Nigerian operating environment.
Mabogunje acknowledged the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the implementation of business-enabling initiatives, which has resulted in the 39-point upward movement of Nigeria on the Ease of Doing Business Index since 2016.
She said: “We are of the firm belief that the (NAFDAC) as the regulatory agency that interacts with all categories of businesses in Nigeria contributed significantly to the process leading to the aforementioned milestone.”
She, however, noted that a lot is required to improve the NAFDAC’s processes and operations.
Responding to the findings of the survey, the Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye, represented by the Director of Port Inspection, Prof. Samson Adebayo, said that NAFDAC frowns at and penalises the engagement of its staff, or any other person, as intermediaries.
She urged businesses to always seek redress and not to offer bribes to officers in the agency, adding that many businesses try to circumvent the rules, hence the readiness to offer bribes to officers.
“We do not want businesses to spend unnecessary funds even as we work to ensure the ease of doing business in the country”, she added.