Director General SON Mallam Farouk Salim making his opening remarks at the event

Ambassador Maryam Katagum Hon Minister of State FMITI delivering her keynote address

In celebrating and promoting Standardisation activities in Nigeria and on the African continent, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in collaboration with the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) hosted the (9th) African Day of Standardisation 2022, with the theme: “Promoting the African Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Industries through standardization” in Lagos.In a keynote address, the Special Guest of Honour and the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Ambassador Mariam Katagum reiterated the need for Africa and Africans to promote home-made solutions to some of the challenges confronting the continent, in line with the laid down Standards.The Minister made bare her views, especially on the need to accelerate the development of the pharmaceutical industry on the continent, which became more apparent in the face of the Covid-19 Pandemic when the movement of goods and services was curtailed in mitigating the spread worldwide.According to the Minister, Covid 19 pandemic exposed more than ever the existing gaps in local interventions and manufacturing in the critical areas of quality pharmaceuticals and standard medical devices.Katagum however revealed the FG’s plans for the Pharmaceutical and Medical industry, through the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment’s collaboration with key stakeholders, in formulating a policy framework for the development of Health Industries Corporation of Nigeria (HICON).
The Minister stated that “HICON is designed to provide the critical enabling environment that will attract investments for the growth and development of pharmaceutical and medical infrastructure in the country”.“Setting up HICON as an institutional framework will fundamentally ensure Nigeria has successfully established capability and capacity in manufacturing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), Basic Medical Hardware and attract huge private investment into the health sector in the short to medium term” the Minister said.According to Katagum, “the seamless implementation will however be possible and practicable with strict adherence to the requirements of applicable Standards at National, Regional, Continental and International levels”.Katagum, therefore, called for regular updates of appropriate Standards in line with international best practices, strict regulatory regimes and a resourceful approach to preventing the importation, manufacture and distribution of substandard pharmaceutical and medical devices.The Minister also called on SON and all regulatory authorities involved in this industry to increase determinations in ensuring that only goods and services that have complied with the stipulated Standards are accessible in the market.Speaking at the event, Director General and Chief Executive of Standards Organisation of Nigeria, Mallam Farouk Salim in his address, said that most banks in the country found it difficult to finance pharmaceutical investments, which were often capital-intensive projects.Salim noted that “Obviously, boosting local production in the pharmaceutical industries will save and strengthen African economies” he surmised.According to SON DG, “It will support local jobs creation, save import expenditure while triggering industrialisation, manufacturing, intra-African trade and sustainable development in the continent, but financing facilities remain the major challenge”.Salim added that as part of the celebrations of the 2022 African Day of Standardisation, a quiz and essay competition was organised for secondary school students in Lagos in commemoration of the celebration in which the winners are present for their award presentation.The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof. Ray Ozolua, in his paper titled “Promoting the African Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Industries through Standardisation” revealed that the African pharmaceutical and medical devices economy lacked growth, as 80 per cent of its pharmaceutical needs were being imported.Ozolua revealed that from the complicated to the least medical equipment was imported into Nigeria including basic items as bandages and dressing, gloves, facemasks, syringes and needles, and diagnostic imaging among others.He identified the barriers to local manufacturing of pharmaceutical/medical devices as limited availability of needed raw materials, expensive startup costs, and poor international competitiveness noting that one of the problems in Africa is standards compliance.The event had other special discussants/guests such; – as Mrs. Susie Onwuka (Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission), Prof. Ephraim Nwoye (Head of Department Biomedical Engineering, University of Lagos), Olayinka Aiyebayo (ICPC), Shode Olukayode (SMEDAN), Sade Achaye (LASCOPA) and host of others who gave goodwill messages and exhibited heath devices.Notable SON Management Staff present include; the Chief of Staff to the DG SON, Prof. Kunle Olobayo Chief Emeka Duru (S.A/ DG Special Duties), Director Human Resources Management Barrister Umar Kawu Dr. Justin Nickaf Director ICT Mr Isa Suleiman (Director Lagos Operations), Bashir Hamis (Director Legal Services), Mr Bola Fashina (Director Public Relations, Engr. Richard Adewunmi (Director Marketing), Mrs Yeside Akinlabi Regional Director South West, Mathias Bassey (Deputy Director marketing), Engr. Enebi Onucheyo (Deputy Director ICD) and host other staff graced the event.

Presentation of the 1st prize cheque to Grace Schools Gbagada the winner of the Quiz competition for Secondary schools in Lagos.

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