As the country prepares to make public its vaccine production from its joint venture company, Biovaccines Nigeria Limited in 2024, there are indications that the Federal Government could save about N8 billion annually being spent on vaccine importation when the vaccines hit the Nigerian market.
Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, May & Baker Nigeria Plc, Nnamdi Okafor, in a chat, said the vaccines company is running fully now as an independent company where it is currently perfecting steps to actualise vaccine production in the country.
Okafor explained that they are hopeful that the company will receive all the needed support to actualise this national dream soon, saying it would take about three to four years before Nigerians will see the proceed of the investment, which will tackle emergency medical outbreaks in the country.
The group managing director stated that currently, Nigeria spends about N8 billion to import vaccine into the country, which is a burden on the country’s foreign exchange (forex).
According to him, the debut of local vaccine in Nigeria will enable government to save this N8 billion for national development.
“On manufacturing of vaccine, we are looking at 2023 or 2024, depending on when the project takes-off. It normally takes about three to four years to get the vaccine into the market.
“Nigeria spends about N8 billion importing vaccine, so, when we start manufacturing locally, we will save N8 billion, and government is still also going to pay for the vaccines. “But there are some other services around the current procurement process or logistics for bringing in vaccine. For instance, government pays about six per cent as administrative charges to UNICEF that currently brings in vaccine into Nigeria. “Government spends a lot of money bringing in the vaccines, placing them into boxes and all of that. That would be substantial savings of forex with the debut of local vaccine. There are some other technical things that vaccines experts come in to do, especially with the handling of the vaccine here in Nigeria. It will come to a time when Nigeria will have the capacity to handle all those functions so that the cost of hiring those services will be saved.