Nigeria set to resume vaccine production, eyes $280m from export
The Federal Government is set to produce vaccines for consumption in the country and hopes to get $280 million exporting them to African countries.
The Chairman of the National Immunisation Financing Task Force Team (NIFT), Dr. Ben Anyene told the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu in Abuja yesterday, that when fully in production, vaccines from Nigeria will cater for seven million children. They could also yield $280 million in export.
This will be the second time Nigeria is producing vaccines for local use and export.
Nigeria produced a few vaccines including small pox vaccines in the 1940s, beginning from 1947 precisely. Local production was, however, stopped in 1991.
According to Anyene, the $120 million loan obtained from the World Bank in 2014 for vaccine importation is what has taken care of the country’s vaccine needs from 2015, and will do so till the end of 2016.
To him, therefore, it is important for the country to commence local production of vaccines now because it has the capacity, more so other African countries are looking up to Nigeria for the production of vaccines.
The NIFT boss revealed that Nigeria uses up to 169 million doses of vaccines annually, a figure, which is expected to increase to 210 million doses by 2020.
Bearing in mind the potential for huge foreign exchange through vaccine export, Anyene said that the Federal Government would be required to make a 10-year commitment that all vaccines produced locally would be purchased.
This commitment, according to him, is needed to assure investors of the economic viability of the project.
He urged the minister to help in two areas: that is in the areas of producing a policy document for local vaccine production and a bankable business plan to encourage investors.
He told the minister that some international bodies were not happy with Nigeria’s resolve to commence vaccine production again. “You will see their reactions when we start producing. They have hit us already,” he said.