Members of Parliament have expressed concern over government’s failure to establish Rwanda Food and Medicine Authority (RFMA),a body supposed to regulate standards of foods and medicines despite the passing of a law allowing for its existence three years ago.
The frustrations were raised yesterday as MPs assessed the request of President Paul Kagame to revise the law establishing the functioning of National Quality Inspection and Competition Authority (NICA).
The Minister of Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba explained that making the request, president Kagame had found that the 6th and 7th articles of existing law incorporated clauses regarding regulation of standards of foods and medicine yet such duties should not be under one body of National Quality Inspection and Competition Authority.
“He requested amendment in articles regarding how the body established by this law can execute particular duties of inspecting national quality and competition for buyers and leave duties of regulating standards of foods and medicine in hands of Rwanda Food and Medicine Authority,” she said.
MP Gabriel Semasaka said that mixing regulation of standards of all products including foods and medicines might be too much for one institution.
He criticized the government failure to establish RFMA yet the law for its existence was passed.
“The establishment of RFMA was approved by the law passed in 2013 but has never been executed. I request the government to implement it,” he said.
MP Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi wondered whether neglecting implementation of RFMA has no consequences on quality of foods and medicines imported in the country.
“What happens when people say the law was passed three years ago but has not been implemented yet we import foods and medicines? The national body regulating standards has its tasks. We knew we were among few people of the world respecting standards. What happened this time?” he wondered.
Minister Gashumba said regulation of standards for medicine in the country is dependent on foreign institutions from United States, Europe and Asia.
“Regulation of medicines in country relies on standards bodies from foreign institutions. No medicine is imported before inspection from credible foreign standard institutions,” she said.
Gashumba noted it would be better if Rwanda gets own body regulating food and medicine standards to strengthen confidence among Rwandan consumers.