The Federal Government is collaborating with key stakeholders to formulate a policy framework for the development of the Health Industries Corporation of Nigeria.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade, and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum said this in a statement issued by Mrs. Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, the Assistant Director of Information in the ministry on Thursday in Abuja.
The minister of state spoke at the 9th African Day of Standardisation Symposium held in Lagos.
The theme of the Symposium was “Promoting the African Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Industries through Standardisation”.
Katagum said that HICON was designed to provide the critical enabling environment that would attract investments for the growth and development of pharmaceutical and medical infrastructure in the country.
She said that setting up HICON as an institutional framework would fundamentally ensure Nigeria had successfully established capability and capacity in manufacturing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API).
According to her, it will also ensure Basic Medical Hardware which would attract huge private investment into the health sector in the short to medium terms.
She said that with the implementation of HICON, the Federal Government would attract and incentivise local manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients, herbalceuticals, and medical and diagnostics devices.
Katagum said that these would make healthcare affordable and accessible with good quality service delivery through strategies that would encourage private sector investments in healthcare and related industries.
She said that the health industry comprises business activities in manufacturing, which included drugs, and medical devices/equipment among others.
It also included infrastructure: hospitals, lab design and construction as well as services: medical and nursing care, insurance, and hospital management.
According to her, it is one of the fastest and largest growing sectors in global economies, the foundation of the welfare system, and one of the major factors for progress in the Human Development Index worldwide.
The minister of state said she was optimistic that the seamless implementation of HICON would be possible and practicable with strict adherence to the requirements of applicable Standards at the National, Regional, Continental, and International levels.
She, therefore, called for regular updates of applicable standards in line with international best practices, a strict regulatory regime, and an ingenious approach to preventing the importation, manufacture and distribution of substandard pharmaceutical and medical devices.
Katagum also called on the Standard Organisation of Nigeria and other regulatory authorities in the industry to redouble efforts in ensuring that only goods and services that complied with the laid down standards were available in the market.
She said that SON would continue to get the much-needed support from her ministry to continue to effectively discharge its mandate.
“This can be attested to by the recent approval secured for the organisation to return provisionally to the Ports to collaborate with the Nigerian Customs Service to tackle the menace of substandard goods at all entry points in Nigeria.
“It is imperative to note that the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area has turned the continent into one huge market and provided us the competitive edge in trading with other continents as a body.
“The need to promote intra-African trade and commerce has become more compelling in order not only to take optimum advantage of the huge African market but to position the continent against future pandemics,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the African Day of Standardisation is an annual event to create and promote awareness on issues relating to standardisation and conformity assessment among member countries of the African Organisation for Standardisatiois.
The event was organised by SON in collaboration with ARSO.