In Three Years, Nigeria’s Pharmaceutical Imports Top N500bn
Nigeria imported over N500 billion worth of pharmaceutical products in the last three years, it was leant.
It was leant that only 20 per cent of pharmaceutical products are being manufactured locally, while 80 per cent pharmaceutical are imported from India, United States and Germany.
According to Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), local drug manufacturers may soon close shop since almost all finished pharmaceuticals products were imported majorly by non- pharmacists.
The group blamed the challenge experienced by local drug firms on the inconsistent government policies, which had detered investors and kills local drug manufacturing from the industry.
Data by the International Trade Statistics (ITS) revealed that in the last two years, German exported N52.4billion ($116.86million) to the country, while U.S supplied ($243.8million) between 2018 and last year.
Sources close to the drug manufacturers said if we add the cash spent on drug imports during the COVID-19 pandemic, the country would have spent over N500billion on pharmaceutical products between January 2018 to date.
The ITS data noted that a total of N25.6billion drugs was exported in 2018, while N26.8billion ($59.62million) drugs were also brought from Germany last year.
Also, the data explained that within the period, Nigeria imported pharmaceutical products worth N52.03billion ($115.6million), N57.7billion ($128.2million) from U.S, while N75.6billion ($167.9million) and N92.41billion($205.36million) worth of pharmaceutical products were imported from India, leading to 18.24 per cent increase in the imports.
It was leant that if the Federal Government failed to give the local industry the necessary support, the country may soon depend on 100 per cent importation of foreign medicines.
The pharmaceutical group said India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were good examples, noting that Bangladesh supplied over 95 per cent of their medicines, while the sector contributes significantly to their Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
According to PMG-MAN the massive of drugs into the country was a typical indication of policy summersault, which would later make nonsense of manufacturing locally.
Findings have shown that the Supply Chain Management (SCM) -Material managers committee of PMG-MAN complained that some government agencies such as Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Agency For Food, Drug Administration and control (NAFDAC) and National Security Agencies (NSA) duplicating duties in the inspection process at the port.
They noted that almost everything finished pharmaceuticals product were imported into the country even those that fall under 14- Import Prohibition List.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that more drugs would imported to the country this year following the waiver granted to importers as part of efforts to combat the corona virus pandemic despite the official exchange rate which has moved from N307 to over N380, while the parallels market is now between N465and N500 to $1.
In May, this year the Federal Government approved import duty waiver for medical equipment and supplies to strengthen health infrastructure in response to the COVID19 pandemic.
The import duty waiver covered medical equipment such as ventilators, test kits, personal protective gear, thermometers, disinfectants and medical consumables.
However, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said importation of so many products, particularly drugs have negative impact on the nation’s economy.
Its Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye had expressed concerns Abuja that Nigeria had depended so much on foreign goods, noting that such dependency on foreign goods would not grow our economy but rather, retard its development.