• Calls for Implementation of Common External Tariff

Martins Ifijeh
As part of efforts to ensure increased patronage of locally manufactured pharmaceutical goods, the Association of Nigerian Representatives of Overseas Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (NIROPHARM) has expressed its concern over federal government’s bureaucratic bottlenecks, which it said has stifled growth of business in the country.

Stating this during the Association’s seminar, tagged; Ease of Doing Business in the Pharmaceutical Industry, the Chairman of NIROPHARM, Mr. Lekan Asuni, said Nigeria’s ranking globally on ease of doing business was very poor, adding that the pharmaceutical industry has the potential to be a lot bigger.

He said there was also need for the federal government to effect the Economic Committee of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET).

Asuni said: “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.

Appreciating the recent effort of the government in providing incentives that allows a better relationship between the stakeholders, Asuni proposed that the tariff on raw materials should be different from that of manufactured goods. The pharmacist added that product on public health should be given some preference due to the need of it.

Furthermore, he charged government to spur investment by ensuring that the industry local chain be self-sufficient. Asuni who is a Fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) said that the ease of doing business would enable the federal government reach the 2020 vision of Nigeria 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.”

Asuni stressed that 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.

Speaker for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Francis Alaneme, reiterated the commitment of the federal government and said the bureaucracy in the MDA would be reduced to the barest minimum to support and encourage manufacturers.

Speaking on the need to improve local content, he added that 40 per cent local content would be enforced in some industries to boost economic growth. He added that the Nigeria is considered to be a difficult place to do business but promised a turn of things before 2020.

He said the vision is for Nigeria to be ranked among the first 100 rather than the 169 position it occupy in the business world. The agencies that now have moved to the online platform to ease their operations and reduce delay in waiting for procedures to be carried out.