New Telegraph

FG battles India, China as N326.97bn drugs flood Nigeria


Government and pre-shipment agents to fight importation of illicit drugs



Following the massive importation of some counterfeit drugs into the country from India and China, the Federal Government has finalized arrangement to commence preshipment analysis of imported drugs. Findings revealed that the country had imported some drugs valued at N326.97billion ($695.6million) from China and India within the last two years.


International Trade Statistics (ITS) portal on pharmaceutical producted imported into Nigeria revealed that $508million were imported from India in two years, noting that $205.4million and $302,6million pharmaceutical products were shipped into the country between 2018 and 2019.


The trade portal also explained that $187.7million drugs were ferried from China, stressing that the country took delivery of $94.6million and $93,1million pharmaceutical products within the period.


However, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) had said that it would start pre-shipment analysis of drugs imported into Nigeria from the two countries suspected to be the countries of origin of most fake and counterfeit drugs.


Its Resident Media Consultant, Mr. Sayo Akintola, explained that the drugs to be analysed were those coming to the country from China and India with a view to curbing the menace of substandard drugs in the country.


He explained that the agency had entered into partnership with preshipment agents in China and India in a bid to take the war against importation of illicit drugs to their countries of origin.


The agency added that it would partner with Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), where it had seized tramadol with estimated street value of N1.7 trillion while unwholesome foods and other regulated products worth over N4 billion were seized and destroyed in exercises across the nation.


Already, a staff of the agency had developed a software that helps to track and monitor ships on the high sea. He said: “Because of this, the agency has, in collaboration with Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), seized and destroyed unwholesome foods and other regulated products worth over N4 billion in exercises across the nation.Tramadol with estimated street value of N1.7trillion has also been seized.”


Meanwhile, despite the official exchange rate, which has moved from N307 to over N380 to $1, findings have revealed that more drugs would be imported into the country this year following the waiver granted to importers as part of efforts to combat the corona virus pandemic.


In May this year, the Federal Government approved that import duty should waived for medical equipment and supplies to strengthen health infrastructure in response to the COVID19 pandemic.


The import duty waiver covers medical equipment such as venti-lators, test kits, personal protective gear, thermometers, disinfectants and medical consumables. However, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said importation of so many products; particularly drugs have negative impact on the nation’s economy.


The Director General of the agency, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, had expressed concerns in Abuja that Nigeria had depended so much on foreign goods, noting that such dependency on foreign goods would not grow our economy but rather, retard its development. Adeyeye had said that the only water was not imported by pharmacists to the country.


The director general said recently that COVID-19 pandemic has caused increase in prices of imported goods as the country has over neglected local industries and local production. She added that the agency would welcome herbal practitioners ready to show their experience with scientific proof to treat the COVID-19.



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