In a bid to actualize the industrialization component of the Making Edo Great Again agenda of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s led administration, the Edo State Government has called for a strong collaboration from the pharmaceutical industry in order to develop a pharma park to promote the business of manufacturing of drugs and other active pharmaceutical ingredients in the state.

This call was disclosed by Mr. kelvin Uwaibi, Managing Director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO) and Ease of Doing Business Secretariat during the opening ceremony of the Pharmacy Week 2022 held in Benin City, the state capital on Friday  September 23, 2022.

Speaking to the professionals in the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Uwaibi disclosed that Edo State has the intention of developing a pharma park to accommodate clusters of manufacturers of drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients in order to enhance the performance of the pharmaceutical industry, adding that Governor Godwin Obaseki wants to make Edo a medical tourism.

According to him, “As a state, we want to see that manufacturing in terms of pharmaceuticals is organized in clusters. Edo wants to be that hub for pharmacy. We want to support pharmaceutical businesses. We will want to hear from you also to know what works, how best we can achieve the development of a pharma park in the state”

“Let us also know, what kind of support you need from government to enhance the industry and make it more profitable. We want Edo to be a state for medical tourism. Just few days ago, we hosted the Turkish Ambassador. Part of the conversation was seeking investment into health sector among others. You are the professionals in the field. Let us know how best things can work. Edo is open for businesses also in the pharmaceutical industry”

While addressing issues of double taxation raised by the pharmacists during the plenary, Mr. Uwaibi noted that the system is improving as tax harmonization is about 90% completed giving kudos to the Edo State Internally Generated Revenue Service (EIRS) as the leading agency.

In his comment, the State Manager, Bank of Industry, Edo State, Mr. Christopher Ehi Omondiagbe lauded the Edo State Government for re-activating its relationship with the Bank of Industry and enhancing a pull of funds to now attract interest rate of 5 percent per annum as against the 10 percent it used to be. He also noted that the state government gave an office to the bank in the Edo Production Center free of charge so as to bring the bank closer to the people which underscores the seriousness of the Governor Godwin Obaseki’s led administration to grow the state’s economy.

He disclosed areas where opportunity lies to finance pharmaceutical projects in the bank of Industry. This include production and small scale manufacturing with interest rate of 5 percent and up to 5-years to pay back.

According to him, ”Based on our agreement with the state government, we have decided to divide into it into two categories. The first category is between N1million to N10million without collateral. The second category is between N10million to N20million with collateral”

The Edo State Commander of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Buba Wakama who also made a speech at the occasion called on the pharmaceutical industry to work closely with the agency to curb the spread  of illicit drugs so as to achieve a healthy society.

He noted: “We are not out to stop anybody from practicing his profession or do businesses. But we must work together to stop the few bad heads in your profession. Our interaction with the military has shown that most of these banditries and Boko Haram are under the influence of drugs. After over running these criminals, the level of drugs they seize is very alarming. So, insecurity can be brought to its barest minimum if we work together,”

Other important dignitaries at the event include: the Deputy Governor of Edo State, RT. Hon. Philip Shaibu; Commissioner for Health, Edo State, Prof. Obehi Akoria and the National Chairman, Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN), Pharm. Olabode Ogunjemiyo.

The theme of the pharmacy week was “Pharmacists United in Action for a Healthy World”