By Henry Ojelu
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharm Ahmed Yakasai have enumerated the long-lasting benefits inherent in the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Nigeria, especially with regards to the pharmaceutical sector.
Speaking on Tuesday at the commencement of the 2nd Pakistan-Nigeria Trade Development Conference, holding at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, the duo insisted that both country stand to ripe immense benefit from trade relations.
Declaring the event open, Governor Sanwo-Olu described the conference as an avenue for both Pakistan and Nigeria to explore important trade and manufacturing opportunities for the development of their respective industries.
Stating the city of Lagos as one of the biggest hubs for business on the African continent, Sanwo-Olu added that the city offers a lot of advantages, in terms of its pivotal position in the West African sub-region.
He said: “ We welcome you to the Center of Excellence. We welcome you to the commercial nerve center of the country. We welcome you to the city that has the largest black population in the world. We welcome you to a state that, if it were a nation, would be the 4th or 5th largest GDP in Africa. We welcome you to a state that has a GDP that is bigger than Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, put together.”
On what the conference has in store for the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry, foremost pharmacist and former President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Pharm Ahmed Yakasai, stated that Nigeria, as a country has a lot to benefit from Pakistan in terms of improving its local manufacturing capacity to meet up with universal best practice.
According to him, Pakistan, being a huge player in the global pharmaceutical firmament will impact positively on Nigeria, through technology transfer and upgrade of facilities as well as increasing local manufacturing.
“What I see is a situation where we are going to have a lot of joint ventures between our local manufacturers and the already existing manufacturers in Pakistan, who are also ready to support us. I can see so many big companies from Pakistan.
“Apart from pharmaceutical companies, they have over 200 companies. And you know their FDA don’t joke with quality. This is why I have been with them for the past 22 years.
“They even awarded me the title of Honourary Consular-General because of the role I have played over the years in bringing them into the Nigerian pharmaceutical market to do mutually beneficial business.
“I believe the Nigerian pharmaceutical landscape will come out better and stronger with such bilateral relationships”, he said.
On his part, CEO of Bloom Public Health, Professor Chimezie Anyakora whose company is building its reputation as one of the most credible technical partners to health-related innovations within and outside Nigeria, observed that the conference is a win-win and portends a lot in terms of advantage to the Nigerian pharma sector.
He commended the organisers of the conference for providing the avenue for Nigerian business people to learn from others how to be global players while also calling on the federal government to create opportunities that will enable Nigerian companies compete favourably with their counterparts from the developed world.
“Pakistan is currently ahead of us in terms of pharmaceutical manufacturing. They do vaccine; they do APIs and a whole lot of things. This partnership will help Nigeria leapfrog into playing at that level. As a matter of fact, Bloom Public Health is engaged by the Pakistani High Commission to facilitate the process and make it mutually-beneficial”, he said.
According to the organisers, the event which wraps up on Thursday, November 25, is expected to feature exhibitions and other important trade presentations by many Pakistani and Nigerian companies.