Federal Government yesterday announced plans to commence local production of human vaccines in the country.
The plan, according to Director General of National Biotechnology Development Agency, Prof. Lucy Ogbadu is in keeping with the government’s desire to be actively engaged in local production of products.
These products, the director general said, include medicals. She said the vaccines would be useful in preventing and controlling diseases among humans.
Appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology for defence of the ministry’s 2016 budget spending, Mrs Ogabadu said the agency is partnering with relevant stakeholders to put in place a policy document on development and business plan that will guarantee sustainable human vaccine production in the country.
“We are collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Immunisation Funding Task Force to come up with a joint action plan that can support local production of vaccines.
“Some years back in the 60s, Nigeria produced vaccines but it folded up. This time, we are committed to it and do not want to repeat the same mistakes. So, we want everything to be in place this time around.
“The agency is committed to ensuring that the improved varieties get to the farmers for utilisation,” she said.
Ogbadu, however, solicited the support of the legislature in allocating funds for the development of bio resource development centres across the country.
She said that out of the 26 centres currently existing, nine are old while the 17 new ones were yet to take off.
According to her, most of them are in the process of land acquisition and clearing to put up buildings meant for the centres.
Ogbadu revealed that the agency would develop sustainable models to ensure that research findings attract investments.
In her remarks, Chairman House Committee on Science and Technology, Hon. Beni Lar urged the agency to find ways of developing industrial chemicals so as to generate more revenues.
“It doesn’t make sense that the country is spending so much foreign exchange to import industrial chemicals in the country.
“Chemicals we import should be locally made, we have the capacity and should take it seriously,” Lar said.
She pledged the desire of the legislature to looking into the agency’s 2017 budget proposal of N1. 8 billion in a bid to determining areas of collaboration for its upwards review and optimum utilization.