Jide Olatunbosun, member House Committee on Appropriation on Monday emphasised the need for Nigeria to convey stakeholders meeting towards ensuring local production of vaccines.
Olatunbosun who spoke on the outcome of the retreat for National Assembly members on ‘Understanding Nigeria’s Lower Middle Income status and understanding potentials for local resources mobilisation for social sector financing,’ held in Abuja, noted that the debasing of the country’s economy puts in 2014 which puts Nigeria’s economy at $2,000 exposes the country to greater socio-economic challenge.
He observed that with about $300 million worth of foreign aids provided by the donor agencies annually to Nigeria, there is dire need for Nigeria to design other source of funding to mitigate against outbreak of diseases in the most populated African nation.
Olatunbosun however lamented that the upgrade of Nigeria from a poor country to Lower Middle Income country, did not reflect in the well-being of over 170 million citizens.
According to him, most of the funding agencies have set a five year transition plan that will eventually put an end to the funding mechanism, which helped in reducing the scourge of major communicable and non-communicable diseases in Nigeria.
“The retreat was organised to sensitize us at the National Assembly on the need to have a national response plan.
“The issue of the pulling out of the donor agencies is no news to me because I got to know about it since January. So I traveled as far as Lagos to discuss with a foreign pharmaceutical company on the possible production of vaccines in Nigeria.
“But the major challenge raised was about infrastructural gap especially energy problem. You know vaccine is financially intensive project, that also requires consistent energy to keep it refrigerated otherwise it’s going to be a huge loss.
“They also complained about policy inconsistency of government. And to do such capital intensive project, there must be stability in the country before the private sector can inject funds into the project,” Olatunbosun told BusinessDay via telephone.
In the bid to commence local production of vaccines, the Oyo lawmaker emphasised the need to fix critical infrastructure such as power and address the challenge of policy somersault which currently scare investors.
He disclosed that some of the foreign pharmaceutical companies which he approached in January 2017, were scared of inconsistency in policies and programmes of Nigerian government.
To this end, Olatunbosun emphasised urgent need for Legislature, Executive and organised private sector to proffer lasting solution to myriads of challenges facing the country.
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja