As Ohuabunwa, Anukwu task government to settle debts owed pharma companies
The Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP) is committed to ensuring that players and investors in the pharmaceutical industry understand the economic direction of the nation in 2019 and therefore better prepared to take advantage of opportunities that can help grow the industry.
This was recently disclosed by the association’s Chairman, Pharm. Ignatius Anukwu, while speaking with Pharmanews during the first bi-monthly meeting of NAIP, held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Alausa, Ikeja, recently
Anukwu said that the pharmacy group organised the event in order to examine the nation’s economic landscape, to enable captains of the pharma industry to take right business decisions that would aid the growth of the pharmaceutical sub-sector of the Nigerian economy.
Speaking further at the event chaired by Dr Fidelis Ayebae, managing director/CEO, Fidson Healthcare Plc, the NAIP boss noted that the event with a lecture themed: “The Business Environment and Economic Outlook of the Nigerian Pharmaceutical Sector in 2019”, was very important, noting that by knowing what lay ahead, captains of the pharmaceutical industry could plan better.
He stated that the Nigerian economy was quite dependent on importation and exchange rate, adding that the pharmaceutical industry is equally affected by these factors because about 70 per cent of medicines used by Nigerians are imported while about 30 per cent are produced locally.
He noted that the state of the exchange rate therefore always affects the pharmaceutical industry. “If we are having challenges accessing Forex, it affects us because apart from importing about 70 percent of our drugs, we also import active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and packaging materials for manufacturing companies”.
The NAIP helmsman also flayed poor patronage of local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies and bemoaned that even when government, through its ministries and agencies, patronises local pharmaceutical companies the government does not pay on time. He urged the government to clear its huge debts to some of the pharmaceutical companies to give the pharmaceutical industry a huge relief.
Also speaking at the event, Pharm. (Mazi) Sam Ohuabunwa, president, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) said that the pharmaceutical industry was already dealing with a lot of challenges to make quality medicines available to Nigerians, while lamenting that it is double jeopardy for the industry to produce and supply drugs to government and still be begging the government to pay.
While advocating special bailout for the pharma industry, the PSN helmsman appealed to the federal and state governments owing pharmaceutical companies to clear their debts.
Ohuabunwa also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Pharmacy Council Bill already passed by the National Assembly into law, adding that the bill is in tandem with what the president wants for Nigeria and Nigerians.
The PSN president said he knows that the Nigeria president is against fake drugs, drug abuse and drug misuse, adding that the Pharmacy Council Bill has provisions that would help to properly tackle these challenges, as well as sanitising the Nigerian environment.
In his opening remarks at the occasion, Dr Ayebae thanked NAIP for organising the event, noting that the topic of discussion at the meeting was quite apt, as it would help captains of the pharmaceutical industry to know what to do to improve their businesses in the year.
He also charge stakeholders in Pharmacy to do more in capacity building for production pharmacists, noting that many young pharmacists coming into the industry are more interested in being salesmen.
Dr Ayo Teriba, chief executive officer, Economic Associates, who presented a paper on the theme of the meeting, charged Nigeria to join the liquidity race, noting that if Nigeria is serious about the liquidity race, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and remittances is the way to go.
He lamented that while a decade ago, Nigeria was 4th in FDI and remittances, the nation is now 6th and far behind nations it should be ahead of.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Moses Tule, director, Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disclosed that the pharmaceutical industry can access CBN intervention programmes for funds to develop the sub-sector.
He listed such programmes to include the 220.0 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF); the 300 billion Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF); the 235.0 billion CBN-Bank Intervention Fund; the Differentiated Cash Reserve Requirements; and the National Collateral Registry of Nigeria, which is to help improve access to finance, particularly for micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs).