Operators Urge FG On Forex For N100bn Health Fund
Operators in the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry on Tuesday appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make a special allocation for all those who are beneficiaries of the healthcare facility to be given forex to import what is needed to boost their production capacity.
They made the call while commending the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the disbursement of the N100 billion Health Sector Intervention fund.
Speaking at a webinar organised by the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Lagos, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Mr. Sam Ohuabunwa noted that the requirements for accessing the facility are not too cumbersome.
But he urged the CBN to look into the provision of foreign exchange for manufacturers and also grant a two-year moratorium as against the one year that was stated in the guidelines for accessing the facility.
He also called for the elongation of the moratorium, noting that “Instead of one-year moratorium they can give a two-year moratorium and maybe extend the repayment further down the line.”
He said: “From the feedback from most of us that have accessed the loans, they have not been able to convert the money into equipment and material because of the shortage of foreign exchange and indeed, many are running a risk of losing a substantial value of this money and are losing in two sides, inflation and depreciation of the naira.
“We have also sent and issued requests to CBN to make a special provision for the pharmaceutical industry and other healthcare entrepreneurs who have taken advantage of this healthcare and pharmaceutical sector fund for CBN to provide forex directly for that.”
The Chairman of the Pharmaceutical Sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and founder/ Chief Executive of Fidson Pharmaceutical, Dr. Fidelis Ayebae said policy summersault such as the imposition of value-added tax on local pharmaceutical manufacturers while allowing duty-free importation of finished products makes the local industry less competitive.
“In these last three months, importers are enjoying a duty-free window and local manufacturers are suffering a 7.5 tax penalty. This is not helping the industry and if you must grow this country and provide jobs for young Nigerians, the industry is the quickest and the easiest way to develop a nation.”