President Muhammadu Buhari asked Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, to give a progress report on indigenous vaccine manufacturing in the country by May.
He delivered the order while receiving the leadership of the Nigeria Integrated Biopharmaceuticals Industries Consortium (NIBI), which is led by Mr Vilarugel Cuyas, Chairman/CEO of Fredlab.
Buhari directed the minister and his staff to collaborate closely with the consortium on the Federal Government’s support needed for the NIBI project’s completion in the Next months.
He stated that food and medication sufficiency were national security concerns for his administration.
He described the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s economy and health systems, as well as how certain countries with comparative advantages in biopharmaceutical manufacturing chose a “me-first” approach to safeguarding their population.
“I want Nigeria to make a big statement in this industry, not just for the reasons outlined above, but also for the knock-on consequences on our economy as a whole,” he added.
According to Buhari, as part of the aftermath and lessons gained from the crises, the Minister of Health has been holding local and international high-level meetings under his instruction to seek access to know-how and financing to restart domestic vaccine Productions.
He stated that the meetings were becoming increasingly crucial as Nigeria prepares to withdraw from the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) funding for vaccine supply by 2028.
He praised the NIBI consortium, which includes European biotechnology giants Merck, Unizima, Rommelag, and Fredlab, which is working with the Nigerian start-up PIA BioPharma to build a world-class Bio-Pharma Industrial Complex in Nigeria to produce vaccines and vital treatments.