The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Biovaccine Nigeria Limited (BVNL) for the production of locally made vaccines.
Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, disclosed this in a statement by Mr Olujimi Oyetomi, Director, Media and Public Relations in the ministry on Thursday in Abuja.
BVNL is a Joint Venture company between May and Baker Nigeria Plc and the Federal Government aimed at resuscitating and advancing local production and development of vaccines.
Ehanire, who signed the MOU on behalf of the Federal Government, described the event as “a milestone in the nation’s desire for self-reliance in vaccine production.”
He said the COVID-19 pandemic brought the attention of the country to the need for domestic production capabilities of vaccines among other commodities.
The minister added that the pandemic also emphasised the need for support to homegrown manufacturing of healthcare commodities.
He said that the MoU went through various appraisals and amendments by the Legal Unit of the ministry as well as the Federal Ministry of Justice before arriving at the final draft.
“The MOU will serve as an implementation framework for guaranteeing market access, which is conditional for the transfer of technology to indigenous vaccine manufacturers.”
The minister added that BVNL had been working with the Federal Government to ensure that the moribund Federal Vaccine Manufacturing Laboratory in Lagos is resuscitated for the production of safe and affordable vaccines.
He expressed optimism that with the MOU, BVNL could start work fully in the process of vaccine production in Nigeria.
The Minister revealed that the Joint Venture Agreement which was signed on the 25th of July 2017 had the Federal Government owning 49 per cent shareholding being the value of Land and Real Estate assets of former Federal Vaccine Production Laboratory (FVPL).
He explained that May and Baker has a 51 per cent share.
The BVNL is charged with the mandate to attract technology, build and develop the capacity for research and development, and local manufacturing of vaccines.
Members of the board of the BVNL constituted in 2017 include Prof. Oyewale Tomori as Chairman; Director, Food and Drug Services Department, FMoH as a member; the Executive Director, NPHCDA also as a member amongst others.