Thursday, 25 February 2021 04:39

FEC Okays Purchase Of Machines To Detect Fake Drugs On The Spot

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.”

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