By Sola Ogundipe
ON the heels of the 2019 general election, economic experts and analysts of the local manufacturing industry have called for a turnaround of fortunes of the Nigerian industrial sector.
They have asked the incoming administration to promulgate policies that would maximise potentials of the Nigerian pharmaceutical manufacturing industry.
“Companies cannot grow if the economy is not growing,” Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, PSN, noted.
Speaking at the 1st NAIP 2019 Bi-Monthly meeting and lecture, Ohuabunwa, who called for the right investments to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment, rate, said the pharmaceutical industry required more investment.
“There is a difference between investing in pharmacy and practicing pharmacy and since we must work with the economy no matter what, it will take associations like NAIP to intervene in preserving the industrial side of the pharmaceutical industry.”
The PSN boss said unemployment is currently high because government has not made the right investments to create jobs.
Also speaking at the forum entitled: “The Business Environment and Economic Outlook of the Nigerian Pharmaceutical Sector in 2019”, the CEO, Economic Associate, Dr. Ayo Teriba, said the right things must be done for the economy to improve.
“There must be investments to create jobs; jobs create wealth, wealth drives away poverty,” Teriba said.
“Unless Nigeria joins the liquidity race, economic growth will be elusive and there may not be a better time than now,” he warned.
Further, he said: “The Nigerian economy is becoming more liquid, financial globalisation is increasing and assets that were once illiquid are becoming liquid.
“Nigeria is both solvent and viable and does not lack any of the resources required to move out of poverty into prosperity. Nigeria only needs resourcefulness to unlock the resources now.”
Expressing concern about the downturn of the economy and its negative impact on the local industry, the National Chairman, NAIP, Mr. Ignatius Anukwu, expressed worry over restricted access to Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, APIs, as a result of the dwindling foreign exchange to enable local pharmaceutical manufacturers import raw materials.
“Whatever happens to exchange rate is hit ing the industry hard. If we are having difficulty accessing Forex, it is going to be a very big challenge for us. How is it going to happen? We heard some experts saying naira maybe devalued a little bit, maybe it can go to about N388 again or whatever. So we want to know that ahead of time so that our captains of industry would be better equipped.”
In his own contribution, the Director, Monetary Policy Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Moses Tule, observed the Chemical and Pharmaceutical sub-sector, under the manufacturing sector in GDP computation.
In a presentation, he evaluated the economic contributions of the pharmaceutical sub-sector. According to him: “Since 2016, the manufacturing sector has contributed below 10 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product, GDP. The chemical and pharmaceutical subsector contribution to the overall GDP has been less than 1.0 percent,” he stated.
Noting that 60.0 percent drug manufacturing takes place in Nigeria with a 1.8 billion market size, he said challenges bedeviling the sub-sector include non-access to available pharmaceuticals, high prices for imported pharmaceuticals and poor quality of some pharmaceuticals.
Giving an outlook for 2019, he stated that the economy is expected to continue on a path of growth in 2019, with output growth (GDP) estimated at 2.0 per cent according to the International Monetary Fund, IMF.
“This will be anchored on expected improvements in oil production and price, continuing reforms in the foreign exchange market, and prospects of improved agricultural output.
“Increased non-oil revenue is expected to improve the fiscal space. Continued implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).”
“Since the economy’s exit from recession in 2017, the recovery has been gradual but progressive. All macroeconomic fundamentals are expected to strengthen further in 2019.
“This is expected on the back of progressively strengthening industrial production across all sectors.
“The Pharmaceutical industry therefore has very strong prospects in fiscal 2019 as the ERGP is focused on developing domestic capacity and sustainability.