By Gabriel Olawale
The Senate has summoned the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Minister of Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo and the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye to appear before it over failure to implement the Backward Integration Policy, BIP, on local production of syringes five years after it was validated.
Speaking in Abuja during an investigative hearing on “The need to regulate the manufacturing, importation, and use of syringes and needles to protect the lives and safety of Nigerians and the economy of the country,” the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on the Ministers and the NAFDAC D-G if they failed to appear on April 15.
The health committee members who expressed dismay over the failure of the Ministry of Trade and Investment to implement the Backward Integration Policy (BIP) on local production of syringes, five years after it was validated, said that imported syringes and needles have become cheaper than locally produced ones.
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Oloriegbe, who took a swipe at NAFDAC for licensing companies in India and China to import syringes into the country, said: “You can’t keep licensing agents outside Nigeria to import syringes, while local firms are dying.”
He remarked that despite the capacity of the local firms to meet the market demands, an estimated over 1 billion units per annum of syringes and needles were being imported into the country, thereby losing what he described as huge foreign exchange.
Speaking at the event, the President of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MEDMAN), Akin Oyediran noted that all the seven licensed local manufacturers have the potential to produce 2.4 bnits of syringes per annum if provided with favorable business environment.
On the losses incurred as a result of the importation of syringes, Oyediran stated: “The issue is not how much losses we have incurred, but how much we are exposing Nigerians to substandard syringes coming into the country.
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Source: Vanguard News