FG to formulate a policy framework for the development of health industries The Federal Government is working with key stakeholders to formulate a policy framework for the development of the Health Industries Corporation of Nigeria (HICON).
Ambassador Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said so in a statement issued Thursday in Abuja by Ms. Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, Deputy Director of Information at the ministry.
The Minister of State addressed the 9th African Standardization Day Symposium held in Lagos.
The theme of the symposium was “Promoting African Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries through Standardization”.
Katagum said HICON was designed to provide the essential enabling environment that would attract investment for the growth and development of pharmaceutical and medical infrastructure in the country.
She said the establishment of HICON as an institutional framework would fundamentally ensure that Nigeria had successfully established capacity and capability in the manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).
According to her, this will also ensure the basic medical equipment which will attract huge private investments in the health sector in the short and medium term.
She said that with the implementation of HICON, the federal government would attract and encourage local manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients, herbal products, medical devices and diagnostics.
Katagum said it would make health care affordable and accessible with good quality service delivery through strategies that would encourage private sector investment in health care and related industries.
She said the healthcare industry includes business activities in the manufacturing sector, which includes drugs and medical, among others.
It also included infrastructure: hospitals, design and construction of laboratories as well as services: medical and nursing care, insurance and hospital management.
According to her, it is one of the fastest growing and most important sectors in the world economies, the foundation of the social protection system and one of the main factors of progress in the human development index in the world.
The Minister of State said she was optimistic that the seamless implementation of HICON would be possible and achievable in strict compliance with the requirements of applicable standards at the national, regional, continental and international levels.
She therefore called for regular updating of applicable standards in line with international best practices, a strict regulatory regime and an ingenious approach to prevent the import, manufacture and distribution of substandard pharmaceutical and medical devices.
Katagum also called on the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and other industry regulators to step up efforts to ensure that only goods and services that meet established standards are available in the market.
She said that SON would continue to get much-needed support from her ministry in order to continue to carry out its mandate effectively.
“This can be evidenced by the recent approval obtained for the organization to temporarily return to ports to work with the Nigerian Customs Service to combat the threat of substandard goods at all points of entry into Nigeria.
“It is imperative to note that the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area has transformed the continent into a huge market and provided us with a competitive advantage in trade with other continents as a body.
“The need to promote intra-African trade and commerce has become more compelling in order not only to make the most of the huge African market, but to position the continent against future pandemics,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the African Standards Day is an annual event aimed at creating and promoting awareness of issues relating to standardization and conformity assessment among member countries of the African Organization Standardization (ARSO).
The event was organized by SON in collaboration with ARSO.