DANIELS G. O
We have received with great pleasure the recent decision of the CBN to provide a Hundred billion Naira (N100 Billion) loan package to the Health sector with focus on the local manufacturing sector.
This is a long awaited development because for many years we have drawn attention to the dangers of total dependence on importation for our local drug needs.
We have complained that this creates a real national security exposure , yet not much attention was paid to us.
We had argued that the Pharmaceuticals should get part of the attention paid to Agriculture to all intents and purposes, medicines come next to food and to be truthful, for some of our people, medicines have become food. Again, some people thought we were talking of protecting the Pharmaceutical industry from a commercial point of view.
That’s why our joy knows no end to see the Central Bank Governor, leading the Bankers Committee, come to the conclusion that” As aforementioned.
Global supply chains have been disrupted, including dominant drug supply channels from China and India. In fact, many Countries have or are planning to ban export of drugs and medical supplies from their Countries.
Clearly, we have no choice but to produce these items locally. As a result, the Committee has identified a few key local Pharmaceutical Companies who shall be granted Naira and FX funding facilities to support procurement of raw materials and equipment required to EXPONENTIALLY increase local drug production in Nigeria.
These loans would be granted at single-digit interest rate and for LONG TENURES, including granting necessary MORATORIUM”
Though we would have wished that we had come to this realization before now, we believe it is better to ‘be late than never’. Therefore the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria( PSN) applauds the CBN and the Bankers Committee for this bold action that is a major impetus to realizing the National Health Policy objective of producing a minimum of 70% of our essential drug needs locally, as Companies access the special intervention funds and increase their capacities.
We pray that the implementation will be quick, swift and wholesome, devoid of the usual lending bureaucracies of ‘come today and come Tomorrow’.
In the interim, may we request the Government to issue directives to the Custom services to grant expedited clearance of health care and pharmaceutical in our ports, as many shipments are waiting at the Ports,
to mitigate shortage of essential drugs.
Additionally may we request that all duties and levies on essential pharmaceuticals and healthcare equipment be suspended for the next three months to assure sustainable supply and pricing stability to the Nigerians in dire need at this period of global health emergency
Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa OFR, MON, FPSN