FOREX shortage: Pharmaceutical sector to lay off over 1m workers
At a meeting with Chief Executives of top phar¬maceutical manufacturing companies under the auspic¬es of PMG-MAN in Lagos,
The chairman of Phar¬maceutical Manufacturing Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMG-MAN), Mr Okey Akpa, raised the concern that The lack of access to foreign exchange (FOREX) is taking its toll on the pharmaceutical sector in Nigeria. This has led to an imminent crisis in Nige¬ria’s health sector as over one third of the pharmaceutical manufacturers have closed down due to the lack of ac¬cess to funds, and One of consequences of this is that over one mil¬lion Nigerians will soon be thrown into the labor mar-ket. Also, essential medicines will be scarce and exorbitant; the countries over depen¬dence on drug importation which will fuel the influx of fake drugs will also increase. The meeting was aimed at reviewing the new directive of the CBN on FOREX sales to end users, .Akpa however called on the Federal Govern¬ment to, as a matter of urgen¬cy, address the anomaly creat¬ed by the Common External Tariff (CET) whereby import¬ed medicines attract zero duty while raw and packaged ma¬terials for local manufactur¬ing attract up to 20 per cent duty. These challenges, he warned, have grave conse¬quences including the cur¬rent increase in cost of health¬care treatment as well as the shortage of medicines being experienced across the coun¬try which have already begun to manifest, and he further argued that with the highest proportion of publicly listed healthcare companies, PMG-MAN is easily the highest employer of labour in the sector. Further closure of PMG-MAN mem¬bers’ factories will throw close to one million Nigerians out of their jobs and into penury.