The winds of regulatory sanctions on listed and unlisted companies has continued to blow across the business terrain as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has ordered Guinness Nigeria Plc to pay N1billion as administrative charges for various clandestine violations of NAFDAC rules, regulations and enactments over a long period of time.
In a letter addressed to the Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc by the Head, Investigation and Enforcement, NAFDAC, Mr. Kingsley Ejiofor, the regulatory agency requested for the payment of the N1bn as administrative charges for infractions such as the destruction activities carried out by the company without the authorisation and supervision of the agency.
Guinness was also accused of revalidating expired products without authorisation and supervision by NAFDAC, as well as failing to secure the gate of its warehouse as the raw materials used in the production of beer and non-alcoholic beverages by the firm were permanently opened to intrusion and exposure to the elements and rodents, which invariably affect the integrity of the raw materials.
The brewer was also alleged to maintain poor documentation record and not complying with conditions contained in the certificate of validation of the revalidated malt extract, which required the storage of the items in cool and dry place, and elimination of exposure to sunlight.
The letter referenced ENFD/7218/Vol. 1/85 and dated November 9, 2015, states, In view of the above, you are further required to take the following actions: disclosure of all your warehouses in the country and submission of inventory level of the stock thereof; submit a written voluntary consent of forfeiture for destruction of the expired and revalidated raw materials discovered in your warehouse; and submit a notarised undertaking to comply with all the guidelines, rules, regulations and enactments of the agency, and to refrain from any future violations.
The agency directed Guinness to ensure the payment of the N1bn within two weeks of the receipt of its letter. However in a statement from Guinness Nigeria Plc, the company said it was in receipt of the letter from NAFDAC and the demand for the payment of N1bn for certain alleged regulatory infractions.
The company said, The management of Guinness Nigeria does not fully understand the basis for the computation of the administrative charges nor the particular regulations alleged to have been infringed, and is currently in discussions with NAFDAC with a view to gaining better clarity on the issue and hopefully have it resolved.
Guinness Nigeria has operated in Nigeria for over 65 years and has conducted its business in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations in Nigeria and Diageo global policies and procedures relating to good manufacturing practice.
Guinness Nigeria is cognizant of its responsibility to adhere to relevant laws and regulations, which are applicable to its operations, including regulations issued by NAFDAC, and takes this obligation seriously.
“We remain committed to working with NAFDAC and other regulatory authorities in furtherance of our responsibility to produce and market quality products, which are enjoyed by consumers throughout Nigeria, and look forward to being able to resolve the issue working in partnership with NAFDAC”.