By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah
The federal executive council (FEC) has approved a joint venture agreement between the federal government and May and Baker plc to produce vaccines in Nigeria from 2017-2021.
According to the agreement ,the federal government will own 49 per cent of the joint venture while May and Becker will own 51 per cent.
This was disclosed by the minister of health, Isaac Adewole after the FEC meeting presided over by acting president, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa.
The board of the company will comprise seven people, four from May and Baker and three from the federal government.
He said the federal government is using existing facility at the Federal Vaccine Production Production Lab, Lagos, as their equity and that has been costed by Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, is about N1.27 billion and May and Baker will put in about N1.3 billion in keeping with the 51, 49 per cent equity participation.
He recalled that between 1940-1991, Nigeria was not only producing vaccines such has smallpox, yellow fever, and anti-rabbis vaccines but also exported to Cameroon, Central African Republic and a few other countries.
Adewole decried that in 1991 the Vaccine Production laboratory stopped production ostensibly because government wanted to reactivate and upgrade the facility which did not take place till today.
“FEC approved a joint venture agreement between the federal government and Becker plc to produce vaccines from 2017-2021.
“Federal government will own 49 per cent of the joint venture while May and Becker will own 51 per cent.
” What council did today was to was put life into this joint venture agreement that proposes to establish a company called bio-vaccines LTD which will be jointly owned by federal government of Nigeria and May and Becker Plc.
“The board of the company will comprise seven people, four from May and Becker and three from federal government. The equity participation will be 51 per cent May and Becker, 49 percent federal government.
“The company between 2017 and 2021 will produce basic vaccines that we need. We have considered vaccines as a security issue, it is not only health but we need to consider the security of all Nigerians particularly our children.
“So, with this agreement we will be able to produce those command vaccines and from 2021 and beyond every other vaccines that are necessary will also be out in board for administration to Nigerians. We are quite happy that today it has taken place and we believe that Nigeria has started a journey to vaccines security, he said.
He explained that the FEC will allow the Attorney General of theFederation to perfect the agreement and “hopefully in the next twoweeks we should sign this agreement and once the agreement is signed we are ready to fly”
On the incident last week where a body was flown into the country from the Democratic Republic of Congo, by Kenya Airways, the Minister said the body was brought in without the necessary approval.
According to him” The standard procedure is that for you to fly in a body into nigeria you need a waiver, a sort of approval to by issues by a federal ministry of health. This was not sought in thus particular instance and we have formerly notified th international civil aviation authority so that Kenya airways will be formerly sanctioned.
He assured Nigerians that the body tested negative to Ebola and any of the hemorrhagic fevers.
“We know the cause of death but for confidential reasons we do not have to disclose it. But it is nothing really to worry about. So we are on top of the situation in the way and manner in which we handled the situation. The entire premises were decontamination immediately and the body was taken.” he stated.