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Local manufacturers of syringes in Nigeria have re-echoed their demand for the speedy implementation of the Backward Integration Policy, (BIP), on needles and syringes in the country.
The BIP entails that syringe manufacturers in Nigeria will be the ones manufacturing syringes for the local market and only syringe manufacturers can import syringe to breach the gap of manufactured syringes at the market demand and that syringe manufacturers must meet the demand of the Nigerian market at a specified period of time.
Under the aegis of Medical Device Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MEDMAN), the body said implementation of the policy would enhance needles and syringes production, expand market and create jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians.
The body maintained that the implementation of the policy would also stop the importation of low or bad quality syringes into the Nigerian market and to protect Nigerian consumer from bad imported syringe because of the health implications.
The president of MEDMAN, Mr Akin Oyediran, who fielded questions from newsmen shortly on arrival at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, from Abuja, where he attended the Senate Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary) investigative public hearing on a motion on “The Need to Regulate the manufacturing, Importation and Use of Syringes and Needles to Protect the Lives and Safety of Nigerians as well as the Economy of the Country,” said it was worrisome that the BIP policy validated about three years ago has not yet been implemented in the country.
Oyediran, who is also the managing director of Jubilee Syringe Manufacturing, (JSM), Uyo, commended the Senate for looking inwards and working on policies and issues that would better the lives of Nigerians.
He described health as a very important factor in the growth of any country, saying the continuous and daily exposure of Nigerians to sub-standard syringes from China and other parts of the world was detrimental to the future growth of the citizens and the country at large.
Oyediran noted that the BIP was validated about five year ago adding that the industry had been working closely with the ministry of industry, trade and investment to ensure that the policy gets implemented but the delay on the part of government necessitated the intervention by the senate.
The MEDMAN president pledged the total support of his organisation to the Senate in the implementation of the BIP.
On the capacity of the MEDMAN to meet the daily needs of consumers, Oyediran said: “As I speak with you, Nigerians demand for needles and syringes is between 2 billion and 2.5 billion yearly. We have at the moment, seven manufacturers in this country and we are producing about 1.95 billion a year.
“However, because of the market condition, that is: the importations of cheap syringes into the country, Nigerian manufacturers have not been able to meet the full capacity needs of the citizenry. But I can assure you that, once this policy is passed and implemented, we will scale up to be able to meet and even exceed the expectations in a matter of months.
“The seven medical devices manufacturers currently operating in the country under the association have the capacity to produce quality syringe and needles of international standard to meet local demand. Quality is not questionable at all. We meet all the international standards.”
Oyediran further said the implementation of the policy would give Jubilee Syringe the opportunity increase its production capacity to meet the demand of the Nigerian market; give the market an opportunity to ensure that quality syringes from Jubilee are more available and at affordable price.
“Our future projection depends on the passage and implementation of the BIP. If these two happen, then you’ll see a steady increase of production of syringes by Jubilee to the market as well as from other manufacturers of syringes in Nigeria,” he said.
The MEDMAN president said, to protect Nigerians from bad imported syringes, the Senate and the Federal government should implement the PIB policy, adding that the implementation would encourage the local manufacturers to increase capacity.
“This will also increase the economic activity that goes with increased capacity. For example: hiring more Nigerians to work; increasing the taxes that Nigerian manufacturing companies will pay to the Federal government,” he advised Nigerians to ensure that in a situation they need syringes, they were aware and insist on local hospitals using good quality syringes on them and for them to patronise local manufacturers to save foreign exchange and increase economic activities within the Nigerian economy.
Only recently, the Senate Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary), conducted an investigative public hearing on the non implementation of the BIP.
The committee had invited the minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, minister of industry, trade and investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo and director-general, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Mojisola Adeyeye to appear before it, April 15, 2021 to provide clarification.
The chairman of the Senate committee, Sen Yahaya Oloriegbe said Adebayo, must give reasons why a “policy validated since 2017 is still lying on his table as at 2021”.
He also sought to know from the minister, why the BIP for syringe and needle had not been implemented despite the fact that it is an essential commodity and product for this country.
The committee also asked Ehanire, to clarify if there’s an existing policy on syringe and needle utilisation in the country and why it had been jettisoned.
The lawmakers also sought to know why the federally owned hospitals and medical centers among others are not using locally manufactured syringe and needle.
The committee also asked the NAFDAC DG to provide the list of companies that have been importing syringe and needles into the country and the quantities imported in the last 15 years.
It also enquired to know the numbers of companies which have transited from importation of syringe and needle to local production over the period.
The chairman further demanded for evidences of post market survey for syringe and needles and specific reports issued by NAFDAC.
The hearing followed a resolution of the senate at plenary, which authorised a probe into the state of manufacturing, importation and policy guideline for syringe, needle in the country.
Sponsored by Oloriegbe (APC Kwara Central) and Senator Suleiman Umar, (APC, Kwara North), the motion raised issues bordering on the safety of Nigerians as well as concerns that over one billion units per annum of syringe and needles are being imported into the country, in spite of available local capacity, thereby making the country to lose huge foreign exchange, among other things.
They noted that investment in the sub-sector is estimated to be about N64 billion with a potential market value of about N100 billion that could be created locally, engaging about 3000 Nigerians directly and saving the country about $150 million in foreign exchange requirement per annum.

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