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The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Kicks Against FG’s Disgraceful Plans of Importing Madagascar’s CVO Syrup.

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What a Disgrace!!!- Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria protest FG’s plan to Import Madagascar COVID19 Syrup

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria has kicked against plans by the Federal government to import the COVID-19 syrup being produced in Madagascar for the treatment of patients with the viral disease here in Nigeria.

President Buhari has given a directive for the importation of the herbal syrup.

In a statement released by the president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, ‘Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa’ today May 12th, the umbrella body of Nigerian pharmacists said it received with utter disbelief the news of the planned importation of the herbal syrup.

Ohuabunwa said the society is shocked that the Federal government can move swiftly to collect such syrup from an African country that boasts of fewer scientists when they have consistently ignored calls to carry out a clinical evaluation for the drugs some Nigerian pharmacists claim they have developed as a cure for the ravaging viral disease.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has received the news that the Federal Government of Nigeria is about to import a herbal concoction called COVID Organics (CVO) from Madagascar with utter disbelief.

While in principle we would not mind Nigerian government importing  any new drug that is proven to cure COVID-19 or indeed any other disease for which we have neither the capacity, nor the technology to produce locally, we are totally appalled that Nigeria is about to spend scarce foreign exchange to import ‘COAL INTO NEWCASTLE’.

Even if we are not going to pay for this, it is thoroughly disgraceful that a country that should be the leader of Africa, with the largest GDP will allow itself to be dragged this low. Nigeria has about 174 Universities (43 Federal, 52 State and 79 private), 20 Faculties of Pharmacy and about 69 Federal-Funded Research Institutes (including National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development and the National Institute for Medical Research) while Madagascar has only 6 Universities, 1 Faculty of Pharmacy and 9 Research Centers!!!  Nigeria has some of the best scientists (Pharmaceutical, Medical, Biochemical, Biological etc.) in the world who have done so much work on natural and herbal medicines.

Nigeria has developed a pharmacopeia of natural and herbal products and has one of the richest flora and fauna – potent sources of phytomedicines.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, a number of them have raised their voices that they have herbal and natural products that can be used to treat or manage COVID-19. Some have patents. Many herbal companies and producers have an-nounced specifically that they have herbal formulations that can do what this ‘invention’ from Madagascar can do.  

Also Read: Plant Extract in Madagascar’s CVO Drink ‘Artemisia Annua’ Grows in Nigeria – Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire.

WHO Considers Madagascar’s CVO Drink as Possible Treatment for COVID-19

We have raised our voices severally that the Federal Government should review these claims and help put them through clinical evaluation as most of these producers cannot afford to conduct clinical trials. We have recommended that a portion of the nearly 25 Billion Naira donated/allocated for the COVID-19 pandemic should be dedicated for local research and development. But our Government has remained essentially silent only waiting to participate in WHO sponsored or mandated trials.

We have been told that Nigeria is participating in the WHO solidarity trial, but nothing on trying our own inventions and formulations.  Now we want to import COVID Organics. from Madagascar to try? Why are we like this? If the world can supply us synthetic and chemically-sophisticated medicines which we apparently lack the technology to produce, why must we wait for the World to supply us herbal formulations which we can easily make and which we have similar products.”

Ohabunwa appealed to the Federal government to save the pharmaceutical scientists in Nigeria the shame of importing herbs that Nigeria boasts of in abundance

 We urge our Government to save Nigerian Pharmaceutical Scientists and other scientists from the shame of having our country import and try herbal remedies which God has given us in abundance and some of which our grandfathers and grandmothers have used for ages. Let us try our own local formulations before we try COVID Organics or any other imported remedy.

Every well-meaning nation has been in a race to find cures, remedies and other medical supplies used for COVID-19, while we seem to wait for other nations to solve our problems. There is much talk but little action. This dependency mentality needs to change and now is the time. We must seize this opportunity to look inwards, build confidence on our abilities, competences and re-orientate our national economic philosophy from import dependency to export driven. And Nigeria can beat India and China in the production and export of herbal products if anyone is willing to lead us down this part. 

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Economy

NGX key indicators drop further by 0.79% on profit taking

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By Gistflash News

July 29, 2021

Trading at the nation’s bourse extended losing streak on Thursday, with  key market indicators nosediving by 0.79 per cent following profit taking in UACN and Union Bank of Nigeria.

Specifically, the All-Share Index lost 306.21 points or 0.79 per cent to close at 38,484.82 from 38,791.03 recorded on Wednesday.

Accordingly, month-to-date gain moderated to 1.5 per cent, while year-to-date loss increased to 4.4 per cent.

Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N20.210 trillion shed N159 billion to close at N20.051 trillion.

The negative performance was buoyed by investors’ sell-off sentiments in all the major market sectors, excluding the insurance sector that increased by 3.24 per cent.

The market negative performance was driven by price depreciation in large and medium capitalised stocks amongst which were; BUA Cement, UACN, Flour Mills, NASCON Allied Industries and Guaranty Trust Bank Holding Company (GTCO).

An analysis of the price movement table indicated that market sentiment closed negative with breadth 22 stocks laggards in relative to 17 gainers.

Oando led the losers’ chart in percentage terms by 9.70 per cent to close at N4.75 per share.

UACN followed with 8.93 per cent to close at N10.20, while Linkage Assurance lost 7.69 per cent to close at 60k per share.

FTN Cocoa Processors dipped 7.55 per cent to close at 49k, while UPDC shed 5.56 per cent to close at N1.19 per share.

On the other hand, Tripple Gee & Company recorded the highest gain to lead the gainers’ table with 10 per cent to close at 99k per share.

Regency Alliance Insurance trailed with 9.76 per cent to close at 45k, while Consolidated Hallmark Insurance went up by 9.26 per cent to close at 59k per share.

Prestige Assurance rose by 8.89 per cent to close at 49k, while Academy Press gained 8.57 per cent to close at 38k per share.

The total volume of trades rose by 9.5 per cent to 259.97 million units valued at N1.98 billion exchanged in 4,975 deals.

This was in contrast with 237.51 million shares worth N1.88 billion traded in 4,305 deals on Wednesday.

Transactions in the shares of Oando topped the activity chart with 56.25 million shares valued  N288.49 million.

GTCO came second with 15.29 million shares worth N444.93 million, while Jaiz Bank traded 14.89 million shares valued  N9.22 million.

Fidelity Bank traded 14.39 million shares worth N34.24 million, while Wema Bank transacted 12.22 million shares worth N10.08 million.

NAN

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Economy

Forex: Financial expert urges CBN to exercise caution on BDCs ban

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By Gistflash News

July 28, 2021

A Financial Expert, Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, has urged the Central Bank  of Nigeria (CBN) to be cautious of its recent “blanket’’  ban placed  on Bureau de Change (BDC) operators from foreign exchange (forex) trading.

Unegbu, a past President of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that the ban would create some challenges in the market as commercial banks might not be able to meet the forex demands of importers.

According to Unegbu, commercial banks themselves are not perfect, as some of them also flout forex regulations.

“This punitive measure by the CBN can negatively affect the forex trading market.

“Most businessmen, when they cannot access forex from commercial banks, rush to the BDCs.

“Banks are not perfect, they also bend the rule sometimes, but that of the BDCs became so obvious  due to their large numbers.

“The Naira has been so bastardised and it is good to see that the CBN is acting to remedy the situation,’’ he said.

Unegbu said that athough some of the BDCs were involved in unwholesome practice there were still some BDCs that operated above board.

He said that the move by the apex bank was only a step toward resolving the abuse in the forex market and to reduce pressure on the Naira.

“There had been a lot of misgivings about forex in the country but this blanket ban by the CBN is just a step towards the solution.

“Not all the BDCs are bad, but as it is now CBN has banned both the good and he bad.

“But it is a warning to the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON).

“ABCON should find a way to make amends and reign in on some of the operators that abuse the system,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CBN announced immediate discontinuation of forex to the BDCs.

CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who made the announcement during the banks 280th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, said that the BDC operators were involved in rent-seeking behaviour money laundering activities.

Emefiele added that BDCs were to serve the retail end users who needed 5,000 dollars or less, but had defeated their purpose of existence to provide forex to retail user.

He also said that BDCs had instead become wholesale and illegal dealers.

NAN

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Economy

Africa to save $5bn annually through payment, settlement platform- AfCFTA Sec-Gen

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By Gistflash News

July 9, 2021

Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) said that the launch of the Pan-African Payments and Settlements System (PAPSS) would save the continent an estimated five billion dollars annually.

Mr Wamkele Mene, AfCFTA Secretary General, who revealed this at the 2nd edition of the AfCFTA secretariat quarterly press briefing on Friday, said this would be from the accruals from conversions to dollars.

He said that PAPSS, created in collaboration with the African Export-Import Bank (Afriexim bank), would address the currency conversion challenges for participating countries.

PAPSS is a centralised payment and settlement system created to serve the purpose of low cost and risk controlled payment clearing and settlement system under intra-African trade.

He said that six countries had been set up for the pilot scheme, some of which include; Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

Mene projected that by the end of 2021, the secretariat would be in a position to reveal the platform availability for all countries to switch.

“There is an objective that one day, Africa would be a monetary union.

“Converting the about 42 currencies in Africa with its attendant cost of over five billion dollars yearly is a whole lot and so we want to reduce and eliminate this for the purpose of trading.

“Local banks would be able to switch to the platform as we are in consultation with the central banks and by the end of the year, we would be in a position to say the platform is available for all African countries that want to switch to it.

“Afriexim bank has invested over one billion dollars and it is a strong signal that the AfCFTA would work.

“If you run a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and you have to use a foreign platform for transaction, it is constraining and costly.

“With this system of payments, we would be able to enhance the effectiveness and competitiveness of SME as it addresses the constraints and costs associated with trade,” he said.

Mene also noted that the Rules of Origin mechanism of trade was at 86 per cent completion, even though the secretariat was gearing for 90 per cent completion before application.

Mene also stated that sensitisation and advocacy campaigns on the intricacies of the AfCFTA were a shared responsibility between participating states and the AfCFTA secretariat.

He revealed that an Africa business forum for the whole continent would be hosted later in the year to raise additional awareness.

This, Mene, said would also serve as a complementary step to what the various participating countries’ governments were already doing nationally on sensitisation.

“It is very important that the private sector is aware that there are export opportunities that this market creates and how they can maximally benefit from it.

“In all my visits to various participating countries, I have met with the private sector as a way to inform and incorporate them into what the AfCFTA is about,” he said.

NAN

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