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In order to deepen support for the Pharmaceutical and Medical Industry, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb.Mariam Yalwaji Katagum has said that the Federal Government through the Ministry in collaboration with key Stakeholders is currently formulating a policy framework for the development of Health Industries Corporation of Nigeria ( HICON) .

The Minister disclosed this in her keynote address at the 9th African Day of Standardization Symposium with the theme “Promoting the African Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Industries through Standardization” in Lagos.

The Minister explained that HICON is designed to provide the critical enabling environment that will attract investments for the growth and development of pharmaceutical and medical infrastructure in the country.

She stated that “Setting up HICON as an institutional framework will fundamentally ensure Nigeria has successfully established capability and capacity in manufacturing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), Basic Medical Hardware and attract huge private investment into the health sector in the short to medium terms”

The Minister maintained that the implementation of HICON, the Federal Government will attract and incentivize local manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients, herbalceuticals, medical and diagnostics devices to make healthcare affordable and accessible with good quality service delivery through strategies that would encourage private sector investments in healthcare and related industries.

Amb. Katagum acknowledged that the health industry comprises of business activities in manufacturing, which includes drugs, medical devices/equipment etc; infrastructure: hospitals, lab design and construction as well as services: medical and nursing care, insurance and hospital management.

She added that it is one of the fastest and largest growing sectors in global economies, the foundation of the welfare system and one of the major factors for progress in the Human Development Index world-wide.

The Minister was optimistic that the seamless implementation of HICON will however be possible and practicable with strict adherence to the requirements of applicable Standards at National, Regional, Continental and International levels.

She therefore called for regular update of applicable Standards in line with international best practices, strict regulatory regime and an ingenious approach to preventing the importation, manufacture and distribution of substandard pharmaceutical and medical devices and called on Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) and all regulatory authorities involved in this industry to redouble efforts in ensuring that only goods and services that have complied with the laid down Standards are available in the market.

The Minister assured the audience that the Standards Organization of Nigeria would continue to get the much needed support of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to continue to discharge its mandate and this can be attested to by the recent approval secured for the Organization to return, provisionally, to the Ports with a view to collaborating with the Nigerian Customs Service to tackle the menace of substandard at all entry points in Nigeria.

Amb. Katagum said “it is imperative to note that the operationalization of the African continental Free Trade Area has turned our continent into one huge market and provided us the competitive edge in trading with other continents, as a body.
The need to promote intra-African trade and commerce has become more compelling in order not only to take optimum advantage of the huge African Market, but to position the continent against future pandemics”.

While declaring the Symposium open, the Minister congratulated the Director-General of the Standards Organization of Nigeria, Mallam Farouk Salim, the Management and the entire staff of SON, for another successfully outing.

The African Day of Standardization is an annual event being celebrated on the African continent to create and promote awareness on issues relating to Standardization and conformity assessment among member countries of African Organization for Standardization (ARSO).

This year celebration of the 9th African Day of Standardization was organized by the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) in collaboration with the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO).

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