The National Assembly has reiterated its commitment to regulate food science and technology professions and to boost national food supply value chain.
The Chairnan, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Sen Uche Ekwunife, said this during an advocacy day organised by Nigerian Council of Food Science and Technology (NiCFoST).
The day was to enlighten stakeholders on the implementation of the Act establishing the council.
“It is in this light of this that the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology and other stakeholders must appreciate the efforts put in by the National Assembly in establishing this council.
” The struggle to pass the Bill for the establishment of NiCFoST wss quite daunting and did not come easy.
” It was presented as a government Bill and tabled for the first time during the 5th assembly. But could not be passed until the 8th Assembly after15 years of painstaking legislative work,” she said.
Ekwunife said that after effective establishment Act in law, it implies both the executive and legislative had played their respective roles in collective quest to ensuring that the establishment of NiCFoST was realised
” The Federal Government, therefore expects all stakeholders to be patient and cooperate maximumly with the implementation of the provisions of this very important Act.
“Our hope is that very soon, only Certified Food Scientists (CFST) will be in-charge at all the critical points of our food value chains.” Ekwunife said.
The Chief Executive Officer of NiCFoST, Mrs. Nkechi Ezeh, said they worked diligently to ensure the smooth take off of NICFoST.
“We have worked so hard to get the necessary approvals for the takeoff of NICFoST as a government regulatory body in the food sector.
” Beyond our widest imaginations, we were able to get NICFoST into the federal budget in FY2021.
“This set the tune for the commencement of preliminary routine activities that are incidental to the running of any government institution,” she said.
Ezeh said that government agencies were highly regulated and inter-related, saying,” the process of getting necessary approvals could be quite slow and, in some cases frustrating.”
She said that the transparency requirement of running public instructions made it difficult for anybody to proceed with any activity as the person may wished.
“These past two years, we have navigated all the many rules in government to ensure the takeoff of NICFoST.
“We have invited other experts from other professional associations and their regulatory bodies to share their insights and experiences so we can learn from their mistakes.
” NICFoST hopes to benefit from their perspectives as we work towards full implementation of the establishment Act, 2019,” she said.
The former Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr Emeka Ezeh, however advised the council to exercise its powers to achieve its mandate by engaging stakeholders especially the political leaders in a friendly manner.
He said that many provisions of the Act were intended to ensure that food professionals act in a manner that brings best attributes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NiCFoST was established by the Establishment Act 2019 of Parliament when President Muhammadu Buhari on Oct. 15, 2019 signed it into law.
The council is domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and it took off officially on May 13, 2020.