THE FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT PARASTARTALS IN THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: A STUDY OF NAFDAC
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1.1 Background to the study
To function more effectively in protecting economies, safe-guarding public health, property and environments and managing natural disasters, governments institute schemes, agencies, parastatals, policies and programmes within their ministries. One of such policies is national food safety policy, which focuses on addressing specific food needs and priorities of countries. It is worthy of note that National food control schemes vary according to nations, but they comprise mainly food registration and regulations, policy and institutional frameworks, food inspection and monitoring, food laboratory services, involvement of all stakeholders and communicating to them (Omojokun, 2013).
National food safety policy provides laws and regulations that direct desired behavior and conduct individuals, and organizations or institutions industries. In Nigeria, one of these regulatory agencies of government is National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The Federal Government of Nigeria established NAFDAC to handle health-related programmes as with focus on food and drugs that are distributed to the general public, their safety for human consumption, and sensitizing the masses on the need and how to detect and buy only products that are allowed to be sold and consumed. All food and drugs producing and distribution firms operating in Nigeria must seek and obtain NAFDAC approval that their products are safe for human consumption before they commence their businesses. NAFDAC, on the other hand, communicates the approval information to the general public by the Registration Number given to these food and drug companies to include in the information they communicate on their product labels (Adikwu, 2016).
Also, NAFDAC puts in place phone-in program which provide the public the opportunity to make inquiries and be more enlightened. Further, NAFDAC uses television and radio advertisements and jingles to educate the public on the need to be adopt caveat emptor in the purchase of food and drug-related products. In addition, NAFDAC provides information periodicals such as bulletins, magazines, pamphlets, and fliers that offer technical information to the general public. With NAFDAC in place, the Government hopes to effectively safeguard public health if the stakeholders comply with NAFDAC regulation. One of the latest attempts by NAFDAC to safeguard the life of patent drug consumers is the introduction of Pin code on the most frequently patronized drugs like antibiotics, antimalarial drugs etc. By sending the PIN to a designated number, it can be confirmed whether the drug is original or not (Omojokun, 2013).
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is a federal agency under the Federal Ministry of Health that is responsible for regulating and controlling the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals and packaged water in Nigeria. The organization was formed to checkmate illicit and counterfeit products in Nigeria in 1993 under the country’s health and safety law. Adulterated and counterfeit drugs are a problem in Nigeria. NAFDAC was officially established as a Government Parastatal on January 1 1994 to regulate and control the manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, sale and use of drugs, foods, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals and packaged water. The formation of NAFDAC was inspired by a 1988 World Health Assembly resolution requesting countries’ help in combating the global health threat posed by counterfeit pharmaceuticals. In December 1992, NAFDAC’s first governing council was formed. The council was chaired by Tanimu Saulawa. In January 1993, supporting legislation was approved as legislative Decree No. 15 of 1993. On January 1, 1994 NAFDAC was officially established as a “parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Health”. NAFDAC replaced an earlier Federal Ministry of Health body, the Directorate of Food and Drug Administration and Control, which had been deemed ineffective, partially because of lack of laws concerning fake drugs (Akunyili, 2016).
On the other hand, there is no gain saying the fact that government regulatory agency is fundamental to the sub-stratum of national development. The historical antecedent of the country Nigeria has already shown that the functionality of the government of the day is manifested via the activities of its agencies. In as much as government cannot operate in isolation. Therefore, government agency is an engine and bedrock for national development. According to merrian websters collegiate dictionary, government agency is an establishment engaged in doing business for another or an administrative division of government (Adeoye, 2013). Government agency equally entails any executive department, commission, independent establishment and corporation, wholly or partly owned by the government. Be that as it may, in order to conduct the business of government effective, the tasks of government are broken down into different parts and tasks assigned to a ministry will then put up institution or corporation or boards that will be assigned particular functions geared towards the achievement of the goals of the ministry. These ministries, departments or bureaus and their derivative agencies will then be the instruments for the provision of the major functions of government which include maintenance of law and order, maintain of territorial integrity of the country. Provision of basic infrastructure, provision of certain goals and services, which private organization will not be able to provide. In all intents and purposes government agencies have recorded break through in all sectors of the economy. Supplying in those areas where government is having some lapses (Akunyili, 2014).
National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control as one of the agencies of government have refurbished our battered image vis-à-vis the menace of putting a stop to drug counterfeit in Nigeria has been eliminated. They have really served as veritable impire in the or against the activities, processing, sale, trafficking and use of hard drugs in the country. However, their activities towards attaining national development have been bedeviled with so many challenges which this master. In common parlance, the agency was saddled with the responsibilities of regulating and controlling the manufacture, importation, exportation, advertisement, distribution, sale and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals and packaged water in Nigeria. It also educates the public on the effect of counterfeit on the nation and on the people (Odumodu, 2012).
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 (2017), “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 Statement of the problem
Government regulatory agencies have over the years been identified as necessary ingredients for national developments. In 1989, over 150 children died as a result of paracetamol syrup containing diethylene glycol. The problem of fake drugs was so severe that neighbouring countries such as Ghana and Sierra Leone officially banned the sale of drugs, foods and beverages products made in Nigeria. Such problems led to the establishment of NAFDAC, with the goal of eliminating counterfeit pharmaceuticals, foods and beverages products that are not manufactured in Nigeria and ensuring that available medications are safe and effective. Also, these problems hindered the progress of the regularity agencies from operating as a veritable instrument for national development. This as a matter of fact informs the focus of this researcher and also intends to establish empirical evidence and proffer solutions to the problems, using NAFDAC. Despite the establishment of NAFDAC, the sale and use of fake drugs did not end.
1.3 Purpose of the study
This study is geared towards identifying the activities and workings of NAFDAC as a government regulatory agency in attempt to foster socio-economic development. Moreso, the study looks into the functions, responsibilities, impacts or contributions the agency has made on the economy and the generality of the public.
The specific objectives of this study are:
- To examine the functions of government parastatals in the national development using NAFDAC
- To identify factors that encourage drug counterfeiting
- To evaluate projects undertaken by NAFDAC to encourage sustainable development of nation
- To examine the implications of counterfeit/fake drugs
1.4 Research question
- What are the functions of government parastatals in the national development using NAFDAC?
- What are the factors that encourage drug counterfeiting?
- What projects has NAFDAC undertaken in their efforts to encourage sustainable development of nation?
- What are the implications of counterfeit/fake drugs?
1.5. Statement of the hypothesis
- There is no relationship between the functions of government parastatals (NAFDAC) in the national development and the use of counterfeit productions
- There are no factors that encourage drug counterfeiting
1.6 Significance of the study
The study is equally aimed at exposing litany of opportunities and strategies to be adopted by government regulatory agencies to enable the generality of the public live in counterfeit free country and in attain national development. The researcher has also made in calculable attempt to reveal the bottlenecks that hinder government agencies from attaining their policy objectives of national development it has equally educated the generality of the pubic on the relevance of government agency in fostering economic growth and development, it is intended and unintended consequences. Moreso, it has equally showed that government agency is a veritable tool to improving efficiency in public services.
However, the researcher work has laid a foundation for further research in NAFDAC. The scholars are not left behind towards exploring the benefits of these research findings. Consequently, it will serve as a reference material to students who may want to research on the topic in our great institution and rest of the students at the diasporas. To the students of political science who may work in different ministries and parastatals, this may serve as an eye opener to them thereby using their agencies to beef up the lapses or dysfunctions of their ministries.
Moreso, the study would equally add to the existing knowledge on government agency and its’ relevance to national building. Finally, the study will show case how these agencies as a machinery of government helped in ensuring conveniences in decision making and implementation and sub subsequently how government partners these agencies together with the sustainable development goals (SDGs), in attaining national development and welfarism of the citizenry.
1.7 Scope of the study
The scope of the study was restricted to the relevance and functions of government agency as a veritable tool for NAFDAC. The target population for the study involved workers in some selected sections and departments of the agency under study. However, in conducting this research work the researcher made NAFDAC his choice of study.
1.8 Definition of terms
Some of the terms used in the researcher work which may not be easily understood by the reader are here under made explicit according to their contextual meaning.
Political Actors: These are policy makers who are found in governmental positions e.g governors, presidents etc.
Substratum: It entails that which is fundamental to foundation of an exercise of agreements.
Organogram: It is organizational charts and structures.
SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals: Seventeen points agenda put together by 149 world leaders to stem the problem of poverty and hunger among other things.
Bureaucratic Resistance: This is unnecessary cog or blockage constitutes by some government officials to avoid losing their political influence and economic power.
Inter-Agency Co-operation: It is a net work of relationship that exists among the agencies of government aimed at achieving a target objective and for administrative convenience