The Nigerian government is considering creating a 600 billion naira fund to boost local pharmaceutical manufacturing and improve access to affordable medicines.
The proposal was put forward by the Federation of Nigeria Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (FENPIA) during a meeting with Nigeria’s Health Minister, Professor Muhammad Pate.
FENPIA President Dr. Okey Akpa said the fund would facilitate investments in local production of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), vaccines, supply chain infrastructure, and research and development. This would strengthen Nigeria’s pharmaceutical sector, curb dependence on imports, reduce medicine costs, and position Nigeria as a pharma hub for Africa.
The proposed interventions come at a critical time when rising medicine prices and drug scarcity have impacted healthcare access for ordinary Nigerians. Recently, leading pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline have exited Nigeria due to unfavourable business conditions.
Dr. Akpa outlined policy and regulatory bottlenecks like forex limitations, high import tariffs on pharma machinery (up to 25%), and inconsistent application of VAT exemptions on raw materials that have stifled growth. He urged the government to implement coordinated medicine procurement frameworks, foster public-private partnerships in the supply chain, and provide pharma manufacturers with targeted incentives.
The Health Minister assured continued engagement with industry stakeholders and reiterated the government’s commitment to enable policies that will spur domestic manufacturing, curb price hikes, and achieve universal health coverage for citizens. An executive order to incentivize the pharma sector is also being considered.
With sound policies and strategic investments in local production, Nigeria can build self-reliance in essential medicines and position itself as a pharmaceutical hub in Africa, generating forex earnings, creating jobs, and ensuring access to lifesaving drugs for its citizens.