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Importation of syringe, needles: Senate queries Buhari’s 2 ministers

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Senate Committee on Health on Tuesday has invited the Minister of Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo and his Healrh counterpart, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to answer querries over the importation of about one billion syringes and needles from China and India in the last five years.

The decision by the joint Committee on Tuesday in Abuja, after a two day public hearing was at the backdrop of jettisoned “Backward Implementation Policy”, by the cabinet ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, Professor Mojisola Adeyeye was also invited.

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The public hearing was in respect of a motion titled, “The need to regulate the manufacturing, importation, and use of syringes and needles to protect the lives and safety of Nigerians as well as the economy of the country.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe pointed out that there was utter disregard for a policy that would have protected the local manufacturers of syringes and needles, hence the Senate is demanding explanation from the three officials of government.

Senate also want to know how many foreign companies were licensed by NAFDAC in India and China to import syringes and needles, given that local manufacturers have capacity to meet an estimated annual one billion units of syringe and needles.

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Oloriegbe lamented the licensing of foreign companies to the detriment of local manufacturers.

The lawmaker insisted that local manufacturers have capacity to meet the market demands, hence, the importation was unnecessary while the country continued to lose the huge foreign exchange.

“As a Committee we have asked Trade and Investment Minister to appear before us on April 15 to explain reasons the Backward Integration Policy, which was validated in 2017, has not been presented to Federal Executive Council for approval.

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“NAFDAC DG should also come forward with the list of “companies that have been importing syringes into the country in the last 15 years.

“The quantity imported, evidence of checks on licensed foreign companies and licensing fees”.

Speaking after the event,
President of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Akin Oyediran disclosed that seven local manufacturers which were licensed have the capacity to produce 2.4 billion units of syringes per annum if provided with a favorable business environment.

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