The theme of the meeting was: “Policy Framework for National Development amidst the Current Global Challenges: Whither Nigeria?”
The Chairman of the Mid-year meeting’s Public Lecture was His Royal Majesty, Igwe Nnnaemeka Alfred Achebe CFR, mni, the Obi of Onitsha. The Guest Speaker at the event was Dr. Ayodele Teriba, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Associates Lagos.
Other dignitaries at the two-day event included:- Chairman, Board of Fellows, Prof. Mbang N. Femi-Oyewo, MFR, FPSN, FPCPharm, FNAPharm, Mazi Sam. Ohuabunwa,OFR, FPSN, FPCPharm, FNAPharm, President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Past Presidents of PSN, Pharm. Yaro Budah, FPSN, mni, Pharm. (Sir) Anthony Akhimien, FPSN, mni, and Pharm. Azubike Okwor FPSN, FFIP, Past Chairmen of BOF, Pharm. Bruno Nwankwo, FPSN (also a past Chairman, Governing Council, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN)), Pharm. Ebenezer Adeleke, FPSN, Dr. John Nwaiwu, FPSN and Pharm. (Pastor) Ade Popoola, FPSN, Dr. Elijah Mohammed,FPSN, Registrar, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria, Prof. Festus Ogunbona, FPSN, Past Chairman of the Governing Council of the PCN, Director-General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, FPSN, Chairman Access Bank, Dr. Dere Awosika, FPSN, Prof. Chinedum Babalola, FPSN, Vice Chancellor, Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Chairman of Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP), Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu, Secretary, Nigeria Association of Pharmacists in Academia (NAPA), Dr Sunday Okafor, Immediate Past Chairman, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN) and MD/CEO, SKG Pharma, Dr Okey Akpa, FPSN, Immediate Past Chairman, Nigeria Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM) and Chairman of the 2020 Mid-Year Meeting Planning Committee, Pharm. Lekan Asuni, FPSN, MD/CEO, Lefas Pharmaceuticals Limited, Pharm. Remi Adeseun, FPSN, Chairman, Rodot Nigeria Limited, Pharm. Bayo Temenu, FPSN Director of Ceremony, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, FPSN, Vice President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy and Publisher Pharmanews, Distinguished Prof. C. I. Igwilo, FPSN, Deans of Faculties of Pharmacy, Prof. Glory Ajayi, University of Lagos; Prof. Oluwatoyin Odeku, University of Ibadan; Director of Pharmaceutical Services, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Moyosore Adejumo FPSN, Prof. Cyril Usifoh, FPSN, Prof. Martins Emeje, FPSN and Past Chairman NAPA, National Secretary, PSN, Pharm Emeka Duru, FPSN, National Publicity Secretary, PSN, Pharm. Ijeoma Okey-Enwurum, National Treasurer, PSN, Pharm. Folake Adeniyi, FPSN, Pharm. Kunle Tometi, Nigeria Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Scientists in the Americas (NAPPSA) and an array of Fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria across the country and diaspora, amongst others.
The Meeting deliberated on the theme of the Mid-year meeting acknowledging the challenges posed by the novel Corona virus globally which resulted in the need for a virtual event to ensure the continuation of the resolution of the Board of Fellows to contribute to the development of the country through meaningful dialogue on topics of national importance.
The following observations and recommendations were made over the two-day event:
- Nigeria urgently needs to have policies in place to enable it move from its current state of over-dependence on imports in all its sectors and especially, the pharmaceutical sector where over 70% of pharmaceutical needs are imported to a point where appropriate infrastructures are in place to support over 70% local manufacture. The meeting agreed unequivocally that it is high time we stopped depending on other countries for our pharmaceutical needs.
- The meeting queried the usefulness of statistical economic growth while the escalating exchange rate immediately wipes out any physical evidence of such growth which therefore does not translate into actual growth for the people of the country. The meeting agreed that the effectiveness of policy planning and implementation must be measured at the lowest levels of the economic chain for it to be realistic.
- The Meeting identified some global realities which can be properly harnessed for the development of the country. These realities include the fact that reliance on exports to ensure enhanced liquidity is no longer the appropriate route for development. With the opening up of the country since 1999 to the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication, the country has been able to attract foreign direct investments and cultivating this avenue can catapult the country into progress and national development.
- The meeting noted that in our national realities, illiquidity is our biggest challenge with debt servicing taking the largest share of available liquidity. Low loan-to-deposit ratios, high lending rates, high interest rates on government bonds and perennial contraction of the stock market and weak fiscal situation are issues that bedevil the Nigerian financial system. The Meeting concluded that development cannot happen with these levels of illiquidity and suggested definite steps to reverse it using the four asset types below.
5. The Meeting recognised the available assets to unlock liquidity which include :
- Financial assets such as government’s minority holdings in joint ventures which should be securitized through diaspora/foreign-currency bonds.
- Corporate assets such as wholly owned or majority equity holdings in state-owned enterprises (SOEs). These should be partially prioritized until Government holds no more than 49 percent stake in any entity.
- Intangible assets such as rights, licenses, spectrums, flight routes which should all be liberalized, replicating the successes associated with GSM and pension operations in the country.
- Non-financial assets including infrastructure networks, lands and built structures. Commercializing or decumulating underutilised lands and buildings owned by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on prime commercial land across the country.
- The meeting noted that securitization is the quickest option to unlock liquidity. This can be done by properly harnessing the potentials inherent in Nigerians in the Diaspora who not only send monies home to their family members but also enhance the foreign reserves of the country by other commercial activities they engage in. The meeting also recognized that we need to close value gaps by having National Assets Registers for each of the four asset types, achieve positive financial net worth, raise liquidity thresholds and develop a National Roadmap that should guide all tiers of government in the same way as the National Pension Act did. The meeting unanimously agreed that it is high time we changed the narratives of our national realities.
- The Meeting encouraged that ‘where there is a will, there will be a way’, because unlocking liquidity that will lead to national development requires political will, transparency and general acceptance by key stakeholders. The meeting noted that to alleviate the fiscal, forex and financial liquidity stress that has weighed the Nigerian economy down since the second half of 2014, all verified income streams should be securitized from pending privatization, commercialization or liberalization using special purpose vehicles to enable us return to the path of competitiveness.
- The Meeting noted the role of the youth in our quest for development. It noted that the energy, resourcefulness and enthusiasm of young people should be harnessed and channelled positively so that they become the true instrument to re-engineer the economy. It was also noted that more people, and especially the youth, should become self-employed and linked appropriately to the global opportunities that have been presented by the global interconnections that are currently available to make them instruments for economic growth. The Meeting agreed that failure to do so would further worsen our indices and produce youth that would be instruments of revolution, anarchy and chaos.
- The Meeting called for appropriate policies and processes to be put in place towards the establishment of a National Postgraduate College of Pharmacists to enable it harness and enhance competencies of pharmacists in line with global best practices. The meeting called on the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria and the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists to work together towards a speedy actualization of this desire.
- The Meeting called for an increased stake in the debenture offering towards the Pharmacy Towers project by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria noting that it is a viable business proposition that will fetch good profit in the future. The Meeting called on all pharmacists and especially, all Fellows, to buy into the project so as to reap the rewards in future.
- The Meeting acknowledged the hard work put in by the Secretariat of the Board noting with consternation the number of Fellows that fail to carry out their constitutional financial responsibility. The Meeting called on the executive committee to put in the constitutional proviso against all such defaulters to serve as deterrent to others.
- The Meeting acknowledged the utility of the public lectures organized by the Board of Fellows of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and encouraged it to continue and take it further by ensuring that the key messages are passed on to relevant arms of government for consideration and implementation. The Meeting congratulated the Chairman of the Board, Pharm. (Prof.) Mbang Femi-Oyewo,MFR,FPSN,FNAPharm and her team for maintaining the Lecture despite the challenges imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic.