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  In Nigeria, the law requires that food products, drugs, cosmetics, chemicals, and packaged water be registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). The agency regulates the manufacture, distribution, advertisement, and use of these products.
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It is NAFDAC’s job to ascertain that they are fit for human consumption, and do not pose any health risk to the people who will consume them. If your business makes products in any of the categories overseen by NAFDAC, you will have to register them with the agency to remain in line with the law. Consumers are also more comfortable with using products that have been certified fit for use by the agency. Such items will usually have a NAFDAC registration number on them. The number is issued to businesses after they complete their registration. Businesses that fail to register their food, drugs, cosmetics, or water products with NAFDAC may have these items confiscated, and will be required to pay a fine.

Registering Your Product With NAFDAC

Note that the process of registering a product that is manufactured locally differs from those you will have to take if the products in question are imported. This article discusses the former. Here’s the general procedure for registering your product with NAFDAC.

Obtain The NAFDAC Registration Form

You can purchase the NAFDAC registration form at the agency’s headquarters in Wuse, Abuja, or at any of its zonal offices across the country. If you are registering multiple products, you will have to get forms for each of them. One form suffices for the registration of a single product, according to the agency’s rules. Be sure to fill the form as required.

Submit Your Application

Next, write an application letter addressed to the director of the zone you are registering with. The letter should include information like the product name and description, the producer’s name, and the intended consumer of the product. You should also describe your facility in your application to NAFDAC, as they will be inspecting it afterwards.
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If you are registering a food or cosmetic product, you will need to submit these documents along with your written application and registration form:
  • Certificate of Incorporation: This is issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to businesses registered with it as a limited liability company.
  • Trademark Approval: You are expected to have registered your trademark with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, and received a Certificate of Registration from them. Find out how to register your trademark here.
  • Comprehensive Certificate of Analysis: This is obtained from a laboratory, and is typically used to confirm that the product’s content meets its specification. The certificate should contain the name and signature of the analyst who reviewed the product.
  • Proposed Label: You will be required to submit a proposed label of the product you are seeking approval for. If the product doesn’t meet NAFDAC’s standards, the agency could issue a compliance query, which you will have to respond to by making necessary changes to the label.
  • Evidence of Payment of Application Fees: Payments should be made to the accounts of NAFDAC. Different fees apply for food, water in a sachet, and bottled water.
  • Certificate of Inspection or Recognition from NAFDAC: You will have this if you have previously registered a product with the agency (see the next point).

Have Your Facility And Product Inspected

Facility inspection applies if you are registering your product with NAFDAC for the first time. They will want to be certain that your production facility is in a hygienic condition. If it scales through this stage, you will be issued a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certificate. You may use this certificate in subsequent applications. Also, you will have to submit three samples of your product to NAFDAC. They will analyze these to be sure that they are in line with its standards. Note that there are fees applicable for facility inspection, and these fees differ with respect to the size of the business. Micro-scale businesses pay the least amount, and medium or large-scale businesses pay the highest amount.

Collect Your Certificate Of Registration

If NAFDAC finds problems with your application, it will issue you with a query or enquire about them. You have thirty workdays to respond. But if the agency deems your application, product, and facility satisfactory, it will provide you with a NAFDAC registration number. This could happen within twenty days of the final vetting process. The entire process could take you at least three months, according to NAFDAC’s own estimate.

Final Words

Getting your product registered with NAFDAC can be energy-draining and time-consuming. But it’s something you should take seriously if you’re going to keep your business on the right side of the law. Hopefully, this article has clarified the steps involved, so you’ll know what to do at various points in the lead-up to obtaining a certificate of registration from the agency. Featured Image Source: Resolution Law Firm
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This article was first published on 14th September 2021


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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