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Nigeria’s manufacturing sector needs reform

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By Mercy Kelani

There is heavy reliance on importation of products for local consumption.

Titans in the country including the deputy governor of Imo State, Prof Placid Njoku, and the managing director of May and Baker Plc, Mr. Patrick Ajah, have stressed the need for Nigeria to urgently work towards repositioning the manufacturing sector by providing favorable government policies and a conducive environment. According to their statements, the manufacturing sector is significant to the growth and development of any economy to make it flourish and prosperous; so Nigeria cannot be an exclusion.

At the fifth anniversary of St. Racheal’s Pharmaceutical company in Lagos on March 29, 2023, the deputy governor asserted that Nigeria is naturally blessed with resources and a good number of population; proper utilization of these resources would result in abundant wealth and prosperity for Nigeria and its citizens. Unfortunately, he added, the country has strong reliance on importation of products for domestic consumption in all sectors of the economy, including the pharmaceutical sub-sector. Without a reversal of this process, the progress of the country among other countries would be slow.

Herbs capable of curing diseases are present in the country.

Giving a speech on the theme of the event titled “Manufacturing Renaissance: A must for prosperity of Nigeria,” the Prof. added that there is usually an importation of about 70 percent of medical and pharmaceutical needs of Nigerians from other countries like the USA, Germany, China, Pakistan, India, Netherlands and so on with only 30 percent domestically produced. For instance, the country spends about 209 million for importation of malaria drugs and about 600 million on importation of antibiotics annually. With such massive resources, the country is likely funding the economies of other countries at its own expense.

According to the deputy governor, Nigeria is in possession of many herbs that are capable of curing diverse kinds of diseases while at the same time generating massive incomes for the country when thoroughly researched and developed into drugs but are wasting due to many reasons. Nigeria’s narrative needs to be changed to help it stay dependent for its pharmaceutical needs. It should begin an internal project as it has a fertile environment for drug manufacturing companies.

Partnership between FG and the private sector would help.

Also speaking at the formal launch of St. Racheal’s new antibiotic brand, Azithromycin 500mg, Jimi Agbaje, a pharmacist and politician, said that the federal government is required to ensure the right policies and provision of necessary support for enhancement of Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industry. He added that the industry records slow progress due to inability of manufacturers to break and make profit owing to unfavorable climate. He stated that he wanted to become a local drug manufacturer but was unable to achieve it due to huge operational costs.

The keynote speaker, Mr. Patrick Ajah, highlighted the exorbitant rate interests on loans, weak government policies, weak government regulations, poor infrastructural facilities, extortions by government agencies and others are some major obstacles affecting significant industrial growth and development in the nation. In his words, the huge amount spent on it import of vaccines will be sufficient for local production of vaccines. He advised that the government develops partnership with the private sector, making operational costs friendly to local manufacturers.

St. Racheal’s Pharma will keep providing jobs for youths.

Additionally, local production of medical and pharmaceutical and medical needs would provide job opportunities for youths, generating revenue and reducing the rates of crimes and criminalities. According to the forum and chairman of St. Racheal’s Pharma, Mr. Akinjide Adeosun, the pharmacy, while working to make profit is also making impacts in the lives of people. Resultantly, the pharmacy would keep providing more employment opportunities and maintain its earnings in the economy for enable expansion and humanity services.

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