By Chioma Obinna
The Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers, NIROPHARM, last week in Lagos urged the Federal Government to urgently implement the Economic Committee of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET) with a view to increasing patronage for locally manufactured goods.
Speaking through its Chairman, Mr. Lekan Asuni in Lagos, the pharmaceutical representatives also said that the implementation would also foster enabling environment for stakeholders in the sector.
Asuni, who spoke during the 2017NIROPHARM seminar, entitled: “Ease of Doing Business in the Pharmaceutical Industry” called on the government to remove all bureaucratic bottleneck which has continued to stifle growth of businesses in the country.
“Adhering to the ECOWAS CET, would foster an enabling environment for the pharmaceutical industry,and give room for all stakeholders to partner together for a better economy,” he said.
Asuni who further proposed that the tariff on raw materials should be different from that of manufactured goods, also commended the recent effort of the government in providing incentives that allows a better relationship between the stakeholders.
Considering the importance of health, Asuni urged the government to give priority to health related products as well as spur investment by ensuring that the industry local chain is self-sufficient.
Continuing, he posited that the removal of taxes on them means that patients that require them will expend less on them, adding that this would be a welcome relief in this economically challenging time.
“The ease of doing business would enable the federal government reach the 2020 vision of being one of the 20 largest economies in the world, and would help consolidate its leadership role in Africa and establish itself as a significant player in the global economic and political arena.”
Speaking, spokesperson of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Francis Alaneme, said the Federal government was committed to reducing the bureaucracy in the MDA to the barest minimum as part of efforts to support and encourage local manufacturers.
Alaneme encouraged local manufacturers to improve their local content, adding that at least 40 per cent local content would be enforced in some industries to boost economic growth.
According to him, although Nigeria is seen as a difficult place to do business, government is committed to turning things by 2020.
“The vision is for Nigeria to be ranked among the first 100 rather than the 169 position it ranked in the business world. The agencies have now been moved to the online platform to ease their operations and reduce delay in waiting for procedures to be carried out. For instance, registration of companies with the CAC has been shortened to two day.
On her part, Director, Ports Inspection Directorate, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Pharm. Maureen Ebigbeyi in her presentation on “Inter-Agency Collaboration: NAFDAC Perspective” identified most of the challenges of collaboration to include; mistrust between stakeholders and deliberate connivance to evade efficient regulation Inadequate and insufficient coordination between various government agencies, port operators
Corruption, sharp practices among ports operators and users lack of funds and competing demands.
She noted that most times, NAFDAC roles are misunderstood by other regulatory agencies, clearing agents and freight forwarders.
She also identified weak legislation that encourage regulation of clearing processes and products monitoring, cumbersome clearing processes and overlap of functions by various government agencies and weak ICT infrastructure and connectivity among ports regulators, operators and users as other challenges militating against the Agency’s collaboration with others.
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