Indian Businesses Ready To Replace Exiting Foreign Firms, Says Consul-General

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Despite the challenges in the country, Indian Consul General, Shri Chandramouli Kumar Kern said businesses from his country are poised to fill the vacuum created by the exit of some foreign firms owing to the size of the Nigerian market that has remained attractive to investors.

Some foreign pharmaceuticals including Glaxo SmithKline and P & G had left the Nigerian market recently citing some operational challenges.

Kumar Kern affirmed that Indian manufacturers are ready to set up their plants in Nigeria following the discovery of the huge healthcare requirements of the Nigerian population which the local pharmaceutical manufacturing could not meet.

“India is prepared to collaborate and emphasizes a commitment beyond merely exporting medicines to Nigeria. The intent is to work closely with Nigerian businesses, encouraging the establishment of numerous Indian manufacturing companies within Nigeria”, he stated as he disclosed that another set of Indian investors had received approval to bring $25 million into the Nigerian economy.

Kumar Kem speaking at the inauguration of a multi-billion Naira pharmaceutical facility by Artemis Laboratories Limited in Ota, Ogun State, acknowledged that certain life-saving drugs requiring extensive research might not currently be produced locally in Nigeria, but he questioned the logic behind importing common medications like Paracetamol.

He emphasized that resources allocated to importing basic drugs such as Paracetamol could be better utilized in other critical areas to foster the development of the Nigerian economy.

The Indian envoy affirmed India’s support for NAFDAC’s 5+5 policy, designed to promote the growth of the manufacturing sector for the overall development of the Nigerian economy, as he highlighted Artemis Laboratories Limited which transitioned from importation to local manufacturing of pharmaceutical products.

However, he announced India’s readiness to fill the gap left by the exit of some major pharmaceutical companies from Nigeria, emphasizing that the Nigerian market holds immense importance and strategic value that cannot be overlooked.

Ambassador Kumar Kern acknowledged the substantial transformation in NAFDAC but encouraged the Agency to address the request for an increased number of product registrations, particularly for investors engaged in local manufacturing of medical products. This, he explained, was crucial for ensuring the viability and sustainability of the substantial investments made in constructing the multi-billion Naira factory.

Highlighting the challenge, he stated, ‘’Huge investments in machinery becomes unsustainable by having a small range of NAFDAC registered medicines. They need approval for a large number of products to be able to make it profitable.’’

Echoing similar sentiments, Rajesh Gupta, the Group Managing Director of Artemis Laboratories Limited, emphasized that the substantial investments in the new plant mark a significant milestone in the group’s dedication to advancing healthcare and contributing to the well-being of Nigerian communities.

Gupta characterized the investment as a strategic and longstanding commitment to advancing Nigeria’s pharmaceutical industries, fostering job creation, and facilitating technology transfer. He outlined their plan to emerge as a prominent pharmaceutical player in the region, boasting a robust production capacity of over 2 billion tablets annually.

‘’We have already secured additional space to establish this venture. This marks the initiation of a journey towards growth and development for the betterment of the Nigerian citizens and the broader ECOWAS region, he expressed, emphasizing their profound belief in Nigeria’s healthcare sector potential and the significance of delivering high-quality Artemis medicines to a wide audience.

He highlighted the cutting-edge technology employed in the facility, adhering to the highest standards to ensure the production of safe and effective pharmaceutical products. Gupta emphasized that the company’s commitment extended beyond manufacturing, as they were in Nigeria to encourage collaborations, support local talent, and contribute to the development of the ecosystem through research, innovation, and sustainable practices.

The investor highlighted Nigeria’s potential to emerge as the primary producer and distributor of essential medicines in the broader Sub-Saharan African region. Expressing appreciation, he acknowledged NAFDAC for its invaluable support in establishing the business, emphasizing the agency’s guidance and collaboration as crucial factors in bringing the venture to fruition. He conveyed gratitude for NAFDAC’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of healthcare products and expressed anticipation for their ongoing partnership.

The company’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Nand Kumar, stated their team of investors would significantly increase the production of high-quality medications for malaria, infections, iron deficiencies, and pain management essential for daily use.

Mojisola Adeyeye, the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said the establishment of a local manufacturing company, is a significant development for Nigeria and commended Artemis for the courageous initiative.

She acknowledged the impact of the 5+5 policy, which encourages companies that have been importing products that can be manufactured in Nigeria to transition to local production and revealed that about 30 per cent of new companies have emerged based on this policy, emphasizing the invitation for importers to start manufacturing in Nigeria or form partnership with existing companies.

She emphasized the importance of quality, stating, ‘’because you are going to use the medicines you are making. If it’s not good, it’s going to affect you. If not you, it may be your relatives or anyone close to you. Think quality.