Pharma industry targets 12% growth rate to boost GDP
Local manufacturing arm of the pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria is targeting an annual growth rate of 12 to 15 per cent to improve its contributions to the economy.
The sub-sector, which currently accounts for less than one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is designing a Marshall Plan with timelines to achieve the objective.
And if the industry steadily grows by 12 per cent according to experts, the sub-sector would be producing over 70 per cent of pharmaceutical needs locally. At the moment, 30 per cent are produced in Nigeria and 70 per cent imported.
The industrialists and other stakeholders, who met at a two-day 20th national conference of the Association of Industrial Pharmacists of Nigeria (NAIP), in Lagos, were unanimous on the huge potential at the disposal of the sector and the feasibility of the target, if all hands are on deck.
The Chief Executive Officer, Business School Netherlands, Nigeria, Lere Baale, noted that the industry in India grows by 11.6 per cent, as such; the 12 per cent target is not beyond Nigeria.
Baale said at 12 per cent growth rate, the sub-sector would have at least doubled its contribution to the GDP in six years or in five years if the growth rate is 15 per cent.
The keynote speaker, on the theme: ‘Growing the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry for greater economic impact,’ said stakeholders must first realise the need for paradigm shift in the scheme of things.
He said the world is now in the digital age, where “what was taught in schools or we have learnt some five years ago are no longer relevant to the industries today.”
“First, we need to restructure our educational system in line with the current methods and need of the industry,” he said.
Baale reiterated the need for more entrepreneurs in the industry, the need for right policies and advocacy, research and development into new areas, and the imperative of strategic collaborations.
A former Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Sam Ohuabunwa, stressed the importance of industrialists increasing output, accessibility and improved outreach for new products to meet the needs of Nigerians.
Ohuabunwa also called on the government to support local manufacturers with investment in infrastructure, to enhance local drug production, and to give preferential procurement to local products to stimulate more investments from the private sector.
According to him, “The combination of these factors will raise productivity, which is the GDP, increase component of products made in Nigeria to enhance self-sufficiency and also reduce the risk of depending on the world to provide us such an essential thing as pharmaceutical product.”
Ohuabunwa, who chaired the opening session, said things were beginning to look up for manufacturers, with government’s policies in the area of tariffs, ease of doing business, and foreign exchange allocation, adding that the pharmaceutical sector will benefit.