Thursday, June 30, 2022

Nigerian govt to invest $200m on COVID-19 vaccine production, other pharmaceuticals

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The Federal Government, through the National Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, in collaboration with other partners, intends to raise $200 million for pharmaceuticals and 20 projects in the health sector.

This was disclosed by the Managing Director, National Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA, Uche Orji, at the weekly ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Nation quoted the managing-director as saying that the execution of the 20 health sector projects will be under the Health Intervention Initiative.

According to him, the investment is targeted to at injecting major investments in pharmaceutical infrastructure, including manufacture of essential drugs, vaccines and construction of cancer centers in the nation’s healthcare sector.

He also explained that the investment plan is being made in order to break the nation’s huge dependence on foreign logistics.

He noted that plans are on to raise the said amount in collaboration with some interested investors, as he expressed optimism that something unique would be done this year.

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“NSIA, we can sponsor, we can co-develop and we can just invest. We are looking at all three options; the more difficult ones, we will do ourselves and the easier ones we will look at some companies that already have existing infrastructure and work with them.

“Some of these infrastructure are just so archaic and so far behind and it is better to just build them brand new, like we did with the Cancer center in Lagos University Teaching Hospital, we just demolished it and started afresh. So these are all things we need to do but we have established the fact that it is important, we will do that and I am certain we will complete something in healthcare this year.

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“We are trying to raise a $200 million fund; not just us, there are other investors that have indicate interest so the documentation for getting the third party funds is ongoing,” Mr Orji said.

He said that so far, the NSIA has been able to do three major things in the health sector through its Healthcare Investment Company.

“There are three things we have done in healthcare. First of all, the NSIA has a Healthcare Investment Company, through which we initially wanted to tackle all the challenges in the health sector but we realized that if you take it all at once, you are probably not going to succeed.

“So, we decided to do two things, first of all, you showcase an area that is of interest to Nigerians and we took cancer and we went to Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and said can we take over your cancer center and rebuild it? Secondly, we now built two world class diagnostic and radiology centers in Kano and Umuahia.

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“I am happy to report that those centers have been successful. Initially we hired a management team from South Africa, it didn’t work, we fired them and built our own management team. At the moment all these are working well; the health company, LUTH cancer center and the diagnostic centers,” Mr Orji said.

The NSIA boss also announced that the organization will soon build 20 cancer centers across the country.

He emphasised that all projects carried out by the NSIA are the President’s legacy projects and the inauguration of many of them would be done next year.

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