February 9, 2017

Distressed pharmaceutical manufacturers seek N300bn for competitiveness

By Franklin Alli

MANUFACTURERS Association of Nigeria, MAN, says it want the federal government to stimulate pharmaceutical manufacturing companies in the country with N300 billion so that they can be competitive in the regional and international market.

The key players in the  industry which  is one of sectors hardest hit by dollar scarcity to bring in raw materials used for pharmaceutical manufacturing, are May and Baker, Neimeth, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, etc.

MAN, in its 2016 Pre-Budget Memorandum, made available to Vanguard, said: “Government should therefore facilitate the setting up of a N300 billion Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Expansion Development Fund (PMEDF), in line with regional policies (this has been done in Ghana and other West African nations where disbursement has commenced).

“The PMEDF will stimulate development of innovative products suitable for our environment as well as enable us compete with international firms.”

According to the document, the Common External Tariffs which are in force now does not favour pharmaceutical manufacturing companies as raw materials attract 5 per cent duty while finished products (medicines) attract 0 per cent duty, thus making local medicines more expensive than imported ones.

MAN, therefore, proposed that pharmaceutical raw materials and packaging materials should be admitted at zero per cent duty, while prohibition/restriction lists, as exists within some ECOWAS member states should be maintained under the CET.

The association also said: “Import Adjustment Tax of 20 per cent should be applied to medicines in HS Codes 3003 and 3004; these are finished products with adequate capacity to produce.

Government should facilitate the implementation and development of the sector through various relevant policies governing public procurement of medicines.

“As such, all Government Healthcare establishments should be encouraged to increase domestic patronage of Local Pharmaceutical products.

Government should formulate a robust and comprehensive tax incentive package for the development of the pharmaceutical sector.  This should include the granting of tax holidays for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers that have made new capital investments towards increasing plant output or launching new plants; as well as granting tax waivers for investment in research and development,” it said.