President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has warned that the country’s manufacturing sector may be wiped out, and that the earliest casualty may be the pharmaceutical industry due to global trade wars and impending recession. It urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria Bill, describing it as the tonic needed to sanitise the pharmaceutical environment and make it more conducive to practice and investment.
The president, Sam Ohuabunwa, said yesterday at the 92nd annual national conference of the society in Kaduna tagged ‘Crocodile City 2019’ that the world was going through a period of phenomenal change in politics, economics, technology and culture.PSN promised to help stem the tide of migration of Nigerian pharmacists to other climes.
According to Ohuabunwa, once upon a time, the United States of America (U.S.A.) was championing the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and promoting open borders and free trade, but today the same U.S. under President Donald Trump is shaking the foundations of globalisation by promoting trade restrictions and tariff barriers, with dire consequences for everybody.
The theme of the conference is ‘Navigating the Winds of Change in Professional Practice in a Volatile Economy’.With the American-inspired trade war with China, global markets are palpitating and a new global recession is being feared, said Ohuabunwa.
The pharmacist said that in Africa, a phenomenal economic challenge had been trust on all with the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, and Nigerians were yet to understand why the Federal Government delayed signing the agreement.“The point is that if we do not make very strong strategic moves to find ways to optimise the opportunities and challenges this agreement will throw at us, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector may be wiped out and the earliest casualty may be the pharmaceutical industry,” he said.
Nigeria’s economy, he said, is still struggling to emerge from the 2016/2017 recession, but volatile oil prices and insecurity have been major obstacles. At Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate around two per cent, and with a population growth rate around three percent, GDP per capita and overall real income per capita continue to decline, generally affecting the quality of life, he added.His words, “We have seen the disturbing spiral of unemployment and persisting poverty despite all the efforts of government.
“It is in this environment that we must continue to practise our profession, focusing on raising the game in terms of quality of pharmaceutical products, access to patients and consumers and enhanced pharmaceutical care. It is in this milieu that we must continue to prevent drug misuse and arrest the rampaging drug abuse.”
According to Ohuabunwa, Prof. Pat Utomi, a seasoned political economist with branches in academia and business, along with other speakers and panelists arranged by Bankole Ezebuilo’s star-studded Conference Planning Committee (CPC) might provide the country with the compass and other instruments needed on this voyage.