Despite the Federal Government’s ease of doing business success claims, business owners under the aegis of African Women Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP) have appealed to the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to make the products registration process easy for entrepreneurs in the country.
National President, Angela Ajala, stated that obtaining NAFDAC certification for the production of food and drugs has become very difficult, making it difficult for starters to operate their dream businesses.
Expressing concern over the long duration between time for application and certification, Ajala said, “We keep wondering why? Our members always give us feedback on the difficulty they face every time.”
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Nigeria SMEs contribute nearly 50 per cent of the country’s GDP, accounting for over 80 per cent of employment.
The national president urged NAFDAC to prioritise timing for the registration of food and drugs firms.
She made the remarks at the annual general meeting and conference of AWEP in Abuja with the theme: “It’s in you.”
She said AWEP is in partnership with some government agencies including the Bank of Industry, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Bank of Agriculture, and SMEDAN.
“If you write an application to NAFDAC, it will take about nine months before you get the reply. In that nine months, you have employees whom you pay and so many of your work activities are tied to the NAFDAC number, but the agency will not show concern.
“Again, NAFDAC will ask for samples, not one, not two but twelve and above for laboratory testing, this is wrong, to us in AWEP, this is not reasonable at all. These are the reasons why we want to go into full partnership with them, maybe there is a communication gap somewhere so we can close it up.”
Meanwhile, a development planner, trainer and strategist, Dr Steve Olusegun Ogidan, has said 94 per cent of businesses depend on referrals for survival. He urged the participants to make sure they have a good customer experience.
Dr Ogidan charged the entrepreneurs on efficient customers’ management, saying customer experience can make or break a business.
“All businesses need to inspire additional purchases and customer advocacy in the marketplace,” he said.
Apart from advising them to streamline sales efforts to increase the productivity of existing sales channels, Ogidan also said they have to prioritise product diversification as part of growth management efforts.
Ogidan said entrepreneurs need to use technology to drive their businesses. He also charged the attendees on being able to deploy a business strategy that enables them to reach more people.
“We need to grow with the business. You have to look at your customers’ diversity. You must grow your business and build your capacity to reach your clients wherever they are. Leverage third-party alliances. Identify what you know how to do and do it very well. You have to rethink your business model,” he said.