Nigeria spends N8 billion annually to import vaccines

No less than N8 billion could be saved annually from production of local vaccines as the Federal Government plans to go into a joint venture with Biovaccines Nigeria Limited.

When the Federal Government embarks on the production of life-saving vaccines locally by 2024, the N8 billion being spent on vaccine importation would be saved.

Speaking on the local production of vaccines, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, May & Baker Nigeria Plc, Nnamdi Okafor said that the vaccine company is currently finalizing the procedures on how to produce vaccines effectively in the country.

He made known that the work being put into the vaccine production by BVNL would take about three to four years before the output can be seen clearly by Nigerians.

According to Okafor, Nigeria spent about N8 billion to import vaccines, which constitutes a burden on the country’s foreign exchange (forex). He said the debut of the local vaccines in Nigeria will enable the government to save this N8 billion for national development.

Okafor’s words: “But there are some other services around the current procurement process or logistics for bringing in the vaccine. For instance, the government pays about 6% as administrative charges to UNICEF that currently brings in vaccine into Nigeria.

 “Government spends a lot of money bringing in the vaccines, planning them into boxes and all of that. That would be substantial savings of forex with the debut of the local vaccine. Of course, there are some other technical things around vaccine experts that come in to do certain things, especially with the handling of the vaccine here in Nigeria. There are times to come when Nigeria will have the capacity to handle all those functions so that the cost of hiring those services will be saved.

 “Above all, Nigeria is going to save lives because sometimes when you have an epidemic in the country, the reaction time is low or very slow if you have to bring vaccine from outside,” Okafor added.

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