The Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN) has commended the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki for his intervention which led the Federal Government to introduce an Import Adjustment Tax policy last year that has encouraged pharmaceutical industries in the country to thrive.
The National President of PMG-MAN, Okey Akpa, gave the commendation when he led other national executive members of the association on a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, in Abuja on Wednesday.
It could be recalled that last year, when PMG-MAN came to the Senate, Saraki assured them that the Senate would advocate for reduction in the prevailing Common External Tariff (CET) on the importation of pharmaceutical raw materials, to boost local production of drugs that would enable Nigerians all over the country have access to cheaper medications.
The PMG-MAN chief noted that the intervention of the Senate last year brought about an import adjustment tax by the Federal Government which has made local manufacturing of pharmaceutical products attractive and profitable.
“When we visited you in June 2016, we brought to your notice a situation where finished pharmaceutical products were being imported into the country at zero duty whereas raw materials and packaging materials were attracting duty ranging from 5 per cent to 20 per cent. We had intimated you that that was the surest way to kill local manufacturing.
“Your Excellency, we want to thank you and the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that government has introduced import adjustment tax on a key HS Code that has encouraged pharmaceutical industries to thrive.
“Those items on those HS Code now attract 20 per cent import adjustment tax which is in line with extant document of CET. We want to thank you, we want to thank the Federal Government of Nigeria and we want to bring to your notice that since the fiscal policy 2016 came, a lot has happened in our industry, foreign investment is on the increase and we are receiving enquiries from foreign investors who now want to invest in Nigeria’s local manufacturing.
“Capacity utilization is on the increase and we are employing more people contrary to what it was just before we came to call on you when we were laying off workers and members were finalizing plans to close factories. We are optimistic that such policies as these if sustained will grow this industry,” he said.
He also solicited the support of the National Assembly against increase in CET which he said is to the disadvantage of pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria.
Responding, Saraki noted that it is top priority of the 8th Senate to ensure he survival and sustainability of pharmaceutical industries in the country.
The Senate President pledged the readiness of the 8th Senate to do what needed to ensure the overall survival and profitability of local industries in the country.
In light of this, Saraki set up a technical committee made up of key staff from his Office and members of PMG-MAN and gave them six weeks to produce a report on the enabling laws that are needed to make sure that local pharmaceutical industries can meet the demands of the entire country.
“Last year, when you (PMG-MAN) came to the Senate, I assured you that the Senate would look into advocating for the reduction of this CET on the raw materials, so that our local pharmaceutical industries can grow, and Nigerians all over the country would have access to cheaper medications. We have done this.
“Now, our next step on this issue will be to push for the self-sufficiency of our local pharmaceutical sector. This is because for the safety of our citizens and our national security as a nation, Nigeria must begin to take steps to produce the vaccines and medications that it needs locally, instead of relying on other countries,” he said.