President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire to, by the end of next month, submit a progress report on the indigenous production of vaccines.
President Buhari gave the directive while receiving the leadership of the Nigeria Integrated Biopharmaceuticals Industries Consortium (NIBI), led by Vilarugel Cuyas.
The President commended the NIBI consortium, made up of notable European biotechnology companies, who are collaborating with the Nigerian start-up PIA BioPharma to establish a world-class Bio-Pharma Industrial Complex for the manufacture of vaccines and essential therapeutics in Nigeria.
The Nigerian leader asked the Minister and his team to work closely with the consortium on the type of Federal Government support required for the actualisation of the NIBI project within the next few months.
He recounted the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigeria’s economy and health systems and how some nations with comparative advantages in being centres of bio-pharmaceutical productions adopted a “me-first” attitude towards securing their citizens.
He called on Nigeria to make a bold statement in the field because of its knock-on effects on the economy.
The President told his audience that Nigeria had learned key lessons from the pandemic, including that countries must look inward for sustenance in food and medical supplies.
Reporting by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Daniel Adejo and Tony Okerafor