- Industrialists Seek Tax Review on Pharm Products
Industrial pharmacists in the country have urged the Federal Government to review the current tax regime on pharmaceutical products. They said that the regime, which they blamed for the high cost of healthcare products, was overdue for a review to ease the suffering of most Nigerian.
Meanwhile, renowned economist, Opeyemi Agbaje, has said Nigeria can attain between two to four per cent of growth in 2017 with the policy documents that has always been the missing link.
The industrial pharmacists, under the aegis of National Association of Industrial Pharmacists (NAIP), at the 2017 Economic Outlook, held in Lagos, appealed for a zero tax regime on pharmaceutical products. They further suggested that imported pharmaceutical products should be categorized into four with different taxation.
Chairman of NAIP, Gbenga Falabi, for instance, said pharma products that entails high technological manufacturing skills, and products on patency should enjoy zero tax, while products local manufacturers can manage to build capacity to produce in few years ahead should have moderate tax of about 20 per cent .
Falabi noted that though the idea of the import adjustment tax is to prevent people from outsourcing their manufacturing materials abroad and rather look inwards, but Nigeria cannot manufacture certain pharmaceutical products in the next 20 to 50 years owing to lack of high technological requirement.
The NAIP chairman said 2016 was a lost year for the industry due to forex issues, “but 2017 we are very hopeful, we would ride the rough waters and am sure our captains are able to deliver us to the shore.”
Falabi regretted that the industry’s contribution to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been very insignificant at 0.22 per cent, “but we are determined, down the line in the next 15 years , the pharmaceutical sector would be at the forefront to affect government’s policies.”
Though we have eluded the fact we need to unite to come up with a common roadmap to fulfill our mission, Falabi noted, the right direction would be looked at soon.
Chief Executive Officer, RTC Advisory Services, Opeyemi Agbaje, said that Nigeria can attain between two to four per cent of growth in 2017 with compelling policy documents, which he says is the challenge.
Agbaje said if that minimum of two per cent is achieved by the end of 2017, the economy can aspire higher in 2018 to better the indices and recover from recession.
According to him, in spite of the high inflation which stands at 18.6 per cent, there are other positive economic indicators like the rise in oil prices, the growth of reserves and the increase in euro bond to a billion dollars point to the possibility of achieving the two per cent minimum growth by the end of the year.
Agbaje, who was optimistic on the improvement in the nation’s economic growth, noted that all the above indicators especially the rise in euro bond is evidence that the confidence is returning from the international market and more.
The RTC advisory boss, however, remarked that on the other hand, if the indices are not properly managed, the economy could get worse and encounter a meltdown.
He identified the disparity in the dollar exchange rate as the biggest problem with most business in country, “some people are getting it for N305 while for others is above N500. People cannot predict, hence, they cannot plan as well.”
Continuing, he said: “We need to urgently rethink the approach to FX policy management, as it is one of the critical parameters which would measure the policies that would be brought under the economic recovery plan, else dollar could even get high as N600 or more by the end of the year,” he added.
Agbaje advanced that though there is the desire to get out of recession, which he termed a minus, a stronger economic growth with a minimum of four per cent and even up to 10 per cent should be the target, so it can balance up population increase too. Agbaje further called for a change of the business models in the manufacturing sector with emphasis on the pharmaceutical industry.
He said the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector like most manufacturing industries has become unsustainable owing to the failure of the dominant business model practiced by most.
He, therefore, urged them to begin to look inward to source inputs despite the challenges, “businesses would become more sustainable if 60 to 70 per cent of inputs are sources locally,” he added.
Air Passengers Drop as Domestic Airlines Resume Operations
Number of Air Passengers Drop as Domestic Airlines Resume Operations
The number of air passengers dropped despite Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu lifting the curfew imposed to address looting and destruction of properties in the state.
The busiest airport in the country, Murtala Mohammed Airport, resumed full operations on Monday, however, passengers are cautious about flying, especially because of the tense situation across the nation.
Some of the officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria as well as those of domestic airlines confirmed that domestic passenger volume had been on a slow start since they commenced full operations.
Okwudili Ezenwa, the spokesperson for Dana Air, said “We are hoping that by next week, everything should have settled down because right now, people are still trying to be sure of their movements.
“Passengers are being cautious before they come out. So, things have not balanced. People are not leaving Lagos as such from the airport now; rather, they are being careful.”
He added, “In locations where no curfew was announced, other places will still have to feed such locations. So since we have curfews here and there, ultimately it affects areas where we don’t have curfew.
“But we hope everything settles down well before next week.”
Similarly, Stanley Olisa, the spokesperson, Air Peace, explained that even though domestic flight operations had resumed, passengers were still wary of flying.
“Yes domestic flights have resumed out of the Lagos airport but it is something that is only picking up gradually,” he said.
333,000 Artisans: FG Commences One-Time Payment of N30,000
FG Begins One-Time Payment of N30,000 to 333,000 Artisans
The Federal Government on Monday said it has commenced a one-time payment of N30,000 to 333,000 artisans under the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund.
In a statement issued by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, disbursements were being done to verified beneficiaries of the Artisan Support Scheme.
The statement read in part, “In the first stream of payments starting today, beneficiaries are being drawn from the FCT, Lagos, Ondo, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Plateau and Delta States. They form the first batch of applications for the scheme submitted between October 1 and October 10.
“The MSMEs Survival Fund scheme is a component of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP, which was developed by an Economic Sustainability Committee established by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2020.
“The President asked his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to head the committee which produced and is overseeing the implementation of the plan. “Under the ESP, the Survival Fund is generally designed to among other things, support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their different obligations and safeguard jobs in the sector.”
Absorb Exited Npower Beneficiaries, N-power Youths Congress Tells FG
Absorb Npower Beneficiaries of Batches A and B, N-power Youths Congress Tells FG
The N-power Youths Congress (NYC) has pleaded with the Federal Government to absorb the 500,000 exited Npower beneficiaries of Batches A and B and pay their outstanding allowances.
The National Coordinator, NYC, Comrade Joseph Enam Maga, stated this in Maiduguri during a press briefing held on Saturday at the NUJ Press Center.
He said thousands of exited beneficiaries are yet to be paid since the month of Match.
He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to offset all the outstanding allowances of Batches A and B and create a permanent job for them.
He said “It is a fact undisputable that thousands of beneficiaries have not been paid since the month of March.
“Promises upon promises have been made on this, but yet no positive result has been recorded. Sometimes I wonder what it takes for the data base manager of Npower to rectify this! Something that can be rectified in a couple of hours has lasted for seven good months now.
“Worst still, this is happening within this period of hunger and starvation because of Pandemic. We call on the minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management to be human enough to respond to our request and give prompt attention to them.
“We equally wish to bring to the notice of Mr. President that Batch B Beneficiaries have not received their devices as was promised and signed at the commencement of the program.
“It is very sad that up to the disengagement of Batch A and B, nobody has come out openly to tell us what happened to our devices.
The coordinator paused to ask why are Nigerian youths being treated like nobody in their country? What have we done to be neglected like this?
“When the Humanitarian Minister was asked why we were disengaged at this critical time in historical epoch that corona virus is terrorizing the whole world, she responded that we were disengaged because it’s a two years programe that we signed.
“Then comes the question: why did Batch A stayed 4years? And if we signed for two years contract that warranted our disengagement, didn’t we equally signed to be given a device that would help us in our different places of primary assignment and equally increase of knowledge? Please we need answers ma. We need answers.
“We, the 500,000 batches A and B of Npower beneficiaries are calling on our government to respond to our demand. We don’t want to believe that it’s only a state of violence anarchy and doom will make a sane government to listen to her Youth’s grievances.
“Look at the Endsars protest for instance, after many lives have been lost and properties destroyed, our government decided to speak up. Niger delta militants were attended to when they resort to arms.
“The insurgents were given amnesty because of their terrorism. But we the innocent 500,000 graduates have been innocently complaining to our government but they paid deaf ears. We are law abiding citizens and we will continue to be law abiding citizens.
“We want Mr. President to understand that a hungry man is an angry man. We have really endured a lot. We need a quick response to our requests. We can’t be used and dumped like refuse. We refused to be used and dumped”, the National Coordinator added.
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