- Manufacturers Seek New Strategy for Drug Importation
Nigeria’s pharmaceutical companies want policy consistency and clarity as well as a new strategy for drug importation to enable them to stay afloat.
They stated this at the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria/ Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria Forum held in Abuja.
Speaking during the forum, the President of PMG-MAN, Okey Akpa, said policy flip-flop had, at many times, threatened to shut down over 120 pharmaceutical companies in the industry.
Akpa said drug makers in the country were not carried along when some key policies affecting them were made, adding that the Common External Tariff threatened to wipe out the industry between June 2015 and November 2016, until the Federal Government intervened.
He said, “CET threatened to wipe us out until the 2016 fiscal policy, which changed the dynamics. CET provides for five to 20 per cent tariff for importation of pharmaceutical raw materials but allow finished medicines to enter any country in the sub-region at zero duty. We are grateful that the Federal Government intervened with the 2016 fiscal policy, which imposed tariffs on four categories of imported drugs.
“We need to have an import strategy. What we are saying is, hand over importation to those who are already manufacturing medicines. That means they have plans to start producing the drugs. When you hand importation over to those who are not manufacturing and have no plan to do so, you are discouraging local manufacturing.”
Also speaking, the President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, who was represented by the Country Lead, Africa Resource Centre, Azuka Okeke, said that logistics was the biggest challenge facing manufacturers after energy problem and stressed the need for synergy to save costs.
The Managing Director of PHN, Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, said there was a need to create an enabling environment for local manufacturers through effective supply chain management.
“At the heart of this vision is the Africa Resource Centre, which is targeted at mobilising the private sector and the academia to complement other actors currently supporting the public health supply chain, to accelerate and sustain improvement in key supply chain outcomes,” he stated.