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Customs agent seeks clarification on agency responsible for regulating diapers

 A freight forwarder, Mrs Ada Akpunonu, on Tuesday
called for clarification on the government agency that should rightfully
regulate diapers to forestall double payment of importation levy.

Akpunonu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in
Lagos that her company had to pay importation levy for diapers to two
government regulatory agencies.
She said that she used to pay the said levy on diapers
importation to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control
(NAFDAC) until the new development with a recent importation.
“I was surprised when the Pre-Arrival Assessment
Report (PAAR) generated to clear the consignment of diapers was queried.
“On inquiry, the Nigeria Customs Service said the
query was because we did not pay the regulatory levy of the Standards
Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
“It has never been so because the regulatory levy was
already being charged by NAFDAC, and SON did not inform us ahead before going
on with the levy administration,’’ she said.
According to her, the development would cause the
end-user to pay extra for the product that is meant for children and the
elderly.
Reacting, the Director-General of SON, Dr Joseph
Odumodu, said his agency rightfully regulated the product to ensure maintenance
of standards.
He said the functions of the agencies were clearly
delineated and should not give room for arguments.
He added that diaper was a textile product and that
“absorbency’’ is the critical parameter SON measures which has nothing to do
with neither food nor drug.
“Is diaper food? Is it drug?
“I must really sympathise with the importer because
the laws have been in place and nobody has changed anything.
“I have always made it clear that certain products do
not fall under the scope of the regulation of the National Agency for Food and
Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC),’’ he said.
The SON director-general said that while they were not
in the ports, some other agencies that were there took advantage of the
situation to expand into SON’s job scope.
He said that had changed now, adding that “today, SON
is responsible for regulating products like diapers and women sanitary towels.
“All of them are products under the scope of SON, and
like I said, they are neither foods nor drugs.’’

The Public Relations Officer of NAFDAC, Mrs Christy
Obiazikwo, told NAN on telephone that the agency was responsible for regulating
diapers.

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