IPAN, others rue low patronage of local capacity
stakeholders in laboratory services have urged the Federal Government to put a policy in place to promote existing capacity in the country.
Specifically, the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria (IPAN) and its affiliated bodies want a policy that will give priority to local practitioners ahead of their foreign counterparts that are more patronized in the country.
Meeting at a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos, the analysts – in public practice, industries and private laboratories – expressed concerns that non-patronage of in-house capacity was doing more harm to the economy than good.
IPAN President, Dr. Dahiru Adamu, submitted that the sub-sector of the Health ministry was in a dire strait, which has also put the Nigerian economy and the food safety in jeopardy.
Adamu said where a country heavily relies on German and French expertise, it should therefore be a little wonder that a lot of local products — food and product — missed certification and are therefore rejected in the global market.
He explained that the task of serving a 170 million population was huge, but it already looks as if public analysts, saddled with the task of certifying quality and safety of foods and products, are irrelevant in the production chain.
“But, this is far from the truth. Analysis in the laboratory is strategic to good product in a production chain,” Adamu said.
Continuing, he said: “Today, we have contamination of food. Simple products like Ogogoro (local gin) and foods are contaminated and killing our people en masse. We are never contacted to analyze lead poisoning, but government always have to wait and spend huge resources on experts from Europe as if we have no such capacity locally. No nation develops that way, which is why we (practitioners) have to speak with one voice and advocate policy that will reverse this situation especially in this season of ‘change’,” he said.
Besides the need for practitioners to unite, the president urged his members to maximize the strength in the sector, use quality equipments for certifications that are of international standard to phase out arbitrariness and quackery.
IPAN Acting Registrar, Duro Abdusalam, added that Nigeria’s non-oil export products have continued to suffer both rejection and condemnation in recent time, even as many were products destroyed because they did not meet international standard.
Abdusalam said while the public and private analysts have to combat challenges in setting up laboratories, the need for proper standard, integrity and vigilance cannot be undermined.
According to him, “The equipment should be able to deliver on anticipatory promise that necessitated their purchase. The analyst therefore requires full information on analytical equipment. To get it, he relies on marketers or manufacturers’ representatives for guide. Nothing short of adequate information would give value for money, protect integrity and prosper business.
“The role of calibration providers also cannot be over-emphasized. Only calibrated equipment can deliver results that are reliable, repeatable, reproducible and such that will generate confidence,” Abdusalam said.
Patrick Anyameluhor added that there was need to examine regulatory policies guiding public analysis since the current ones are at a conflict.
Anyameluhor said the business of the Private Public Analysts plummeted in the last one year because of “a strange directive from NAFDAC, which compelled all portable water producers to channel their samples for analysis to NAFDAC’s preferred analyst – with a threat to deregister recalcitrant producers.”
“Since the portable water producer sub-sector forms about 70 per cent clientele base of the Private Analytical Laboratories, the NAFDAC action is not only malicious but emasculating and therefore should be looked into,” he