PSN applauds CBN over N100bn loan to boost local drug production

Posted by News Express | 27 March 2020 | 342 times

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The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has applauded the recent decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide a N100 billion loan package to the health sector with focus on the local manufacturing sector.

In a statement from the PSN signed by its President, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, the PSN has urged the Federal Government to suspend all duties and levies on essential pharmaceuticals and healthcare equipment for the next three months to assure sustainable supply and pricing stability to Nigerians in dire need at this period of global health emergency.

In the interim, the PSN similarly requested the government to issue directives to the Nigeria Custom Service to grant expedited clearance of health care and pharmaceuticals in the ports, as many shipments were waiting at the ports, to mitigate the shortage of essential drugs.

On the N100 billion loan package, Ohuabunwa said: “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.”

According to Ohuabunwa, pharmacists had argued that pharmaceuticals should get part of the attention paid to agriculture, saying 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.”

Based on this development, Ohubunwa noted that many countries have or were planning to ban export of drugs and medical supplies from their countries. “Clearly, we have no choice but to produce these items locally,” he added.

As a result, the president of PSN said 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.”

Therefore the PSN applauded the CBN and the Bankers Committee for this bold action that is a major impetus to realising the National Health Policy objective of producing a minimum of 70 per cent of our essential drug needs  locally, as  companies access the special intervention funds and increase their capacities. (New Telegraph)

Source: News Express

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