By Sola Ogundipe
President of the Association of Pharmaceutical Importers of Nigeria, APIN, Pharm. Nnamdi Obi has blamed the deficit of infrastructure and lack of financial support as being responsible for the difficulty of going from drug importation into local drug manufacturing in Nigeria.
Obi, who spoke in Lagos recently, during the donation of relief items, including foodstuff, drugs, and other essential materials to the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN.
Obi who noted that the donation was their own way of appreciating the officers and men of the Armed Forces who daily lay down their lives in defence of all in the fight against terrorism in the country, said going into local drug manufacture in Nigeria today is a heaculean task.
“We applaud the courage of most of our members who have gone into local manufacturing the despite the enormous deficit of infrastructure in our clime, even though they still work with us. If the infrastructures are in place, who will want to continue importing?
“But when you do not have a supporting local industry, our petrochemical which ought to have come on board is not there, if you want to manufacture a pharmaceutical product, virtually everything you need is going to be imported except water which has to be treated, so I salute the courage of those who are manufacturing locally,” Obi noted.
Further, Obi observed that except things changed for the better it was going to be basically impossible in the nearest future for a greater percentage of industries to start manufacturing locally.
“These things are not taken in isolation, it has to be in aggregate of so many things that have to be in place. Our financial institutions are not helping matters, you can not borrow with a 2 digit level and manufacture and compete globally. It has to be a holistic thing. The infrastructure, and the financial institution have to be in place.
“A friend of mine put up a manufacturing company recently in India, over $20 million worth and his money in that transaction is but $5 million the rest were all borrowed funds with three or four years maritorium for the interest, but here right from that time you walk out of the bank with the borrowed fund, interest in charged on whatever facility that is being used. So how can you compete with them?
“There has to be also a change in attitude in all of us. An average Nigerian talks about minimum wage, but have we talked about minimum productivity? Let’s not thing about the government alone afterall we are all the government. There must be a change of attitude in us all to make this nation a better place,” he stressed.
Applauding the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Obi said he has introduced an innovation in the fight against fake drugs, thereby placing their right to checkmate on Nigerians through the used of phone to authenticate products.
Items donated to the AFN included, drugs valued at over N70 million and cutting across various therapeutic classes from antibiotics and antifungals to antimalarials, antihelminthes and heamatinics.
Other items included 150 bags of rice; 1200 cartons of Chikki Instant Noodles, 600 cartons of Chikki chips snacks valued at N10m from Chikki Foods Industries Limited; and 1000 cartons of Beloxxi biscuits from Beloxxi Industries Limited valued at N2m.
In a response, the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, said that the determination of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN, to succeed on the on-going fight was borne out of the overwhelming support they continued to enjoy from the federal government, individuals Nigerians and corporate organisations.
The CDS who emphasised the active role that adequate logistics play in the successful operations of the anti-insurgency war, said the donations would be effectively utilised to beef up the logistic base of the forces; stressing that the war against insurgency can only be brought to a speedy conclusion by the collective efforts of all Nigerians.
NAFDAC DG, Dr. Paul Orhii stated: “I came here to certify that APIN is an association of genuine drug importers, otherwise I know as a diligent officer, you may not want to do business with them until they are certified by NAFDAC.”