The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved a proposal presented by the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, mandating the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to procure testing kits to detect fake drugs and other edible materials on the spot.
Recall that NAFDAC is saddled with the responsibility of regulating medicines, drugs, cosmetics, and other products made in Nigeria or imported.
With this approval, NAFDAC will go ahead to procure 40 scan devices, which are mobile scan devices to be able to recognise fake and substandard drugs brought in either across the border or found within the country.
According to Ehanire, these are like rapid diagnostic kits tests, which also relieve the laboratories because normally you have to take samples to the laboratories, it takes a long time, several days and lead to some delays. So having a Thru-Scan allows us to have faster access.
He said the second memo centred on laboratory strengthening, improving and upgrading all of our six laboratories for NAFDAC for testing materials that are brought into the country.
“Both of these contribute strongly to what we call the benchmarks for NAFDAC to be able to allow the manufacture of vaccines in Nigeria. It needs what we call the maturity level 3 of the World Health Organisation, to be able to start manufacturing. We have ambitions to start manufacturing vaccines and the Federal Government owns 49% of shares in the company called BioVaccines that hopes to use technology imported from outside to make vaccines and getting this benchmark maturity level 3 is a condition for it.
“So both of these memos, the upscaling of laboratory capacity and the ability to speed up and make diagnostics more accurate in respect of fake and substandard drugs will help us to push to apply for maturity level 3 for the health sector.”
Meanwhile, recent news that Nigeria may soon exit recession going by key economic indicators is making the Federal Government excited.
The APC-led government said it’s an indication that the diversification efforts it has been pushing is actually posting positive results.
It also said that it has been implementing vigorously the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) approved by council last June with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the helms of affairs leading the implementation of the plan.
Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, said these while briefing State House correspondents alongside her counterparts in Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and FCT, Mohammed Bello, at the end of FEC meeting.
Nigeria’s economy unexpectedly came out of a recession in the fourth quarter as growth in agriculture and telecommunications offset a sharp drop in oil production.
Gross domestic product grew 0.11% in the three months through December from a year earlier, compared with a decline of 3.6% in the third quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website last week Thursday.
Ahmed said: “At the Federal Executive Council, we had the opportunity to brief council on the National Bureau of Statistics recently published fourth quarter GDP report estimates, which measure the economic growth of our country.
“Nigeria’s GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020 grew by 0.11% and in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2020. This follows, if you recall, two consecutive negative growth in the third quarter and the second quarter of 2020, which saw us as a country going into recession. So as a result of this fourth quarter positive growth, the total growth for the year 2020 is -1.92%.
Council also approved N5.9 billion for three projects under the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Minister of the FCT, Mohammed Bello, said the three memos were on the provision of infrastructure in the city as well as the purchase of needed equipment to make the city safe.
He said: “During today’s Federal Executive Council meeting, I presented three memos, two of which were on infrastructure and the other was for the purchase of needed equipment to make the city safe. The first was for a contract to rehabilitate the road leading to the Federal Integrated Staff Housing Estate in Apo, Abuja, and that contract was approved at the sum of N2.3 billion with a completion period of 24 months.
“As you know, the Federal Integrated Staff Housing Estates are being constructed in some locations in Abuja under the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and these estates are intended to provide needed accommodation to federal civil servants.
“The second infrastructure project relates to the contract for the construction of an access road and car park for the Abuja light rail station at Ring Road II, otherwise known as Kukwaba Station, which you see on the airport expressway immediately after the city gate near the Kukwaba Recreation Park under the Ministry of Aviation. The contract was approved for N3.6 billion, with a completion period of 18 months.”