The federal government has approached the World Bank in an effort to obtain a loan of $30 million for the purpose of building a vaccine plant in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that his regime is currently in talks with the World Bank to obtain funds channelled towards building a vaccine plant in Nigeria.
The President hopes that the vaccine plant which is to be built in collaboration with the Nigerian drugmaker, May & Baker Nigeria Plc, would commence latest next year.
What the FG is saying about the vaccine plant loan
Speaking through Vice President Osinbajo, at the graduation ceremony of Senior Executive Course 43 participants of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, the President said, “Nigeria is in talks with the World Bank’s private lending arm and other lenders to raise about $30 million to help finance a vaccine plant – Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd, (with 49 per cent of the company owned by the Nigerian government and the balance held by May & Baker Nigeria Plc), plans to begin construction of the plant in the first quarter of next year.
“The plant will initially ‘fill and finish,’ which means importing the raw materials for the vaccines and then packaging them for distribution. Full manufacturing is expected to follow.”
Recall that earlier this year, in January, the federal government approved a total of N10 billion to support the production of local vaccines. The minister of health made this known in a statement where he said: “The ministry of finance has released N10 billion to support domestic vaccine production. While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in-country and have had discussions with a producer.”
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The pandemic has exposed the need for vaccines to be locally produced in Africa, as roadblocks to purchasing sufficient doses for African nations have led to “vaccine nationalism” globally.
The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has stated that Nigeria should start looking at establishing the capacity for manufacturing vaccines locally.
Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire disclosed earlier this year that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, announced the sum of N10 billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight Covid-19, citing that Nigeria was exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions, while also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.
The call for local production was also helped by the United States President who announced support for the waiver of Intellectual Property Protections on Covid-19 vaccine development, in a bid to boost the fight against the pandemic, stating that the US would participate in the Okonjo-Iweala-led WTO negotiations to actualize it.
The Nigerian Medical Association added that the Federal Government should take the Local Vaccines Production (LVP) pipeline seriously and said the FG’s Joint Venture deal with May and Baker Plc should be prioritised to ensure the success of Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd.