The Senate has directed its committees on Health, Trade and Investment and Customs to investigate the manufacture, importation and policy guidelines for syringe and needles in the country.
Consequently, the committee is to invite the Federal Ministry of Health, Trade and Investment, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and manufacturers of syringe and needles as the committee carries out the investigation.
These resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored by Ibrahim Oloriegbe and co-sponsored by Sadiq Suleiman during plenary on Thursday.
The upper chamber also directed the Ministry of Health to provide an explanation on the policy for the procurement and utilisation of syringe and needles by federally-owned, state and private hospitals and agencies of the ministry.
The motion is tagged” The need to regulate the manufacturing, importation and use of syringes and needles to protect the lives and safety of Nigerians as well as the economy of the country.”
Oloriegbe who is Chairman Senate Committee on Health said that syringes and needles were essential medical products used for the administration of drugs parentally to safe human lives.
He said that the syringes if not sterilised and of the right quality, the use of the syringes and needles could cause disease and even death to the patient.
According to him, investment in the manufacturing of syringes and needles was estimated to be about N64 billion with a potential market value of about N100 billion that could be created locally, engaging about 3, 000 Nigerians directly.
“Certified and approved local manufactures of syringe and needles in Nigeria by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) have the capacity to produce 1.6 billion units per annum.
“In spite of this capacity, an estimated over 1 billion units per annum of syringe and needles are being imported into the country making the country to lose huge foreign exchange.”
He expressed concern that in spite of the introduction of 75 per cent import duties on imported syringes and needles, the customs department was not enforcing this.
“The Federal Ministry of Health does not have an effective policy on the procurement and utilisation of syringe and needles by the federally-owned hospitals and agencies.”
The motion was supported by Sadiq Suleiman and Chimaroke Nnamani.