Managing Director of SKG -Pharma Limited, and President, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Mr. Okey Akpa has given a recipe on how best the government can grow the industry in Nigeria.
In an interview, he decried the challenges of his group, saying the patronage from government agencies has been very low, noting that “Even when we get patronised, we are not paid”. “We have situations where our members are owed for three years. I don’t know the kind of profit one would make that will not be wiped off by interest in three years. So we are asking the government to enforce the Procurement Act and we are recommending a few practices that we think can help.
But for the way out, Akpa opined that “let membership certificate of PMG-MAN be one of the critical requirements for a supplier to bid for a government tender when such items being looked for are being made in Nigeria. We are not asking to be given what we cannot make”.
“Number two recommendation is: seeing how costly capital is in Nigeria, when we do supply, let there be a framework that guarantees that we will be paid. I will like to refer to the Petroleum Trust Fund that has worked in the past. It is interesting to note that our President (Muhammadu Buhari) was the chairman of the PTF.
“What happened was that the PTF identified out -of-stock syndrome in hospitals as a major problem in Nigeria. The popular quote at that time was that ‘our hospitals were empty and had become mere consulting rooms’. There was a need to fill those hospitals with medicines and one of the best things that happened was the PTF taking on medicine supply.
“The PTF called a meeting of the PMG-MAN members and a framework was put up. The outcome was that in a matter of few months, members of the PMG-MAN were able to produce and supply quality medicines at affordable prices to designated centres in this country because the government negotiated prices with our members.
Akpa added that “In the face of the present scarcity, this is one thing that the government can do for our members and the way it will work for Nigerians is that immediately it will improve the level of quality medicines availability; and it will bring a reduction in cost.