I Inherited a Bankrupt NAFDAC, Says DG, Mojisola Adeyeye

irector General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye

irector General of NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye

•Paid N3.01bn debt within one year

Dike Onwuamaeze

The Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Mojisola Adeyeye, has disclosed that she inherited a regulatory agency that was deep in debt to the tune of N3.2 billion in November 2017.

Adeyeye disclosed this yesterday during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos where she said that the NAFDAC she took over had no budgetary system and hardly had its own ICT facilities while its directors were sending official memos and documents via gmail and yahoo mail.

She noted that the only  thing that was left in NAFDAC was the roof on top of the agency’s building, adding that she was shocked  when she found out that between 70 and 80 per cent of equipment at NAFDAC’s laboratories in Oshodi, Lagos State, were not working as at 2017 .

The DG disclosed further that there were backlog of more than 6,000 applications waiting for approvals while N500 million was blown within two months by the management that preceded hers.

She said that things were so down that businesses being regulated by NAFDAC were the ones providing vehicles and logistics support to the agency to inspect their facilities, a situation, she noted that could easily lead to compromise.

Adeyeye said that she had to chart a new path for NAFDAC that was based on quality management system to transform the agency and enable it to attain Maturity Level Three (ML3) status from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is the major qualification that allowed Nigeria to be involved in producing vaccines.

She said: “On November 30, 2017, I was given a handover note that I never saw because it was ceremonial. But within a week I started seeing things that were probably not in the handover note; debt: N3.2 billion; my directors were mailing documents in yahoo mail and gmail in a regulatory agency. Development partners will reject it. They want government backed secured email. It was strange to me.

“NAFDAC hardly had ICT system. It was not just debts but lack of effective communication system. Directors did not even have laptops, so how do we talk even of documentations.

“Within few days I visited the Oshodi laboratory and I was shocked to the bones that about 70 to 80 per cent of our equipment were not working. And we are supposed to test water, drugs. Then during our drug approval meeting I learnt that we had 6000 applications backlog for approvals.

“I learnt that N500 million was spent in two months. I also learnt that there was no budget system but impress. Impress to me is a little money that you put in a drawer for just entertainment and not what you will allocate to make a directorate to function.

“I was told that we did not have vehicle and sometimes companies would send vehicles to bring us to inspect their facilities, with implications for favouritism. There was a propensity for that at the expense of our own lives.

“If we are in a developed world NAFDAC would have been categorised as bankrupt. It would have filed for bankruptcy on the N3.2 billion debt.

“That was how we (my administration) started. I used to say at then time that the only thing we had was the roof on top of our building.”

Adeyeye however state that she piloted the agency by the grace of God and fortitude and with the buy-in of able and amiable directors, on a path that was guided by Quality Management System (QMS) in the first quarter of 2018.

She said that the agency started getting prudent and was able to repay N3.01 billion of its indebtedness within one year.

Stating further that she got the regulations of the agency gazetted in 2021 and was able to earn the WHO’s ML3 status that has made local manufacturing of vaccines possible in Nigeria.

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