Pharmaceuticals manufacturers worry over forex restriction

Drugs. Image source byt NigerianBestForum

Drugs. Image source byt NigerianBestForum

Some investors and exhibitors at the just-concluded “Nigeria Pharma Manufacturers Expo 2015’’ on say that the recent foreign exchange restriction policy had impacted negatively on their production.

They spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the end of the three days exhibition on Sunday in Lagos.

NAN recalls that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on June 23, stopped the sale of foreign exchange to importers of rice, private jets, textiles, tomato paste, poultry products and 35 other times.

The move is to beef up the fast depleting external reserves and facilitate the resuscitation of domestic industries as well as generate employment.

NAN reports that over 130 exhibitors and 2,500 participants, including local and international pharmaceutical industries and manufacturers attended the exhibition from Sept. 7 to Sept 9.

A foreign exhibitor from China, Mr Fan Guangyu, said that the foreign exchange market remained a big barrier to marketing of his products.

“We have come to display our products here, some of our products are assembled here locally, but the market is generally becoming slow, maybe because of the price.

“The main issue is the currency barrier, the exchange of our local currency to dollars, then the conversion to naira is cumbersome, and this has brought a lot of cost implications.

“Although, the market is huge, there is no raw material here, so we have to resort to buying and importing,’’ said Guangyu who produces Zhejiang Medicines and Health Products.

He said that the company would join the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to fight counterfeiting and fake products in the country.

Another exhibitor, Mr Gauran Manhas, a fabricator of pharmaceutical machines and equipment, said that most of the locally made drug machines might not meet the international standards.

“I think the major problem with some fabrications in Nigeria is that they are not made in line with the international standards.

“Some of the fabricated machines being used for food processing in Nigeria are not hygienic enough, so we decided to produce these products that can meet the international standards in China.

“We have good response from the Nigerian market. It is very promising because people are buying our products, we also produce our spare-parts locally here and technicians are available.

“We plan to have a factory to assemble the equipment here in the future,’’ he said.

In his remarks, an Indian, Mr Nikhil Kaushik, said: “The market in Nigeria is so huge with high volume.

“The only challenge is that the raw materials are not available coupled with the problem of foreign exchange market.

“We are unable to buy dollars as we want. Lots of people are unable to buy dollars because dollars are not available in the open market; we do our trade with what we have.’’

Contributing, Mr Sina Akinyoade, a representative of one of the local manufacturers, expressed satisfaction with the success of the exhibition.

Akinyoade said that the exhibition had achieved its set objectives of promoting the locally made pharmaceutical products.

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