The Federal Executive Council (FEC) of Nigeria last week approved a joint venture (JV) agreement between the federal government and May and Baker Plc to produce vaccines in Nigeria from 2017-2021. May and Baker Plc will be given an initial capital of 100 million naira ($328,515) to produce vaccines.
Prof. Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health stated that the federal government will own 49 percent stake in the JV while May and Baker will own 51 percent stake. The board of the company will also comprise of seven people, four from May and Baker and three from the federal government. The Minister made this known after the FEC meeting presided over by the acting president, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa.
In June 2012, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan approved the local production of vaccines with his government taking off with Biovaccines Nigeria Limited, a joint project company between Federal Government and May and Baker Nigeria Plc. However if this project yielded the necessary results, the Nigerian government wouldn’t be searching for vaccines in order to control the current meningitis outbreak in the country.
The minister stated that the country would need $738 million for vaccines until 2018. He also noted that the vaccines production laboratory in Yaba, Lagos, was exporting vaccines until 2004 when it was shut down for rehabilitation.
The minister further said that the federal government would be making use of the existing facility at the Federal Vaccine Production Lab, Lagos, as their equity.
He recalled that between 1940-1991, Nigeria was not only producing vaccines such as smallpox, yellow fever, and anti-rabbis vaccines but also exported to Cameroon, Central African Republic and a few other countries.
According to a report by Leadership, Adewole revealed that Nigeria’s Vaccine Production Laboratory stopped production in 1991 because the government wanted to reactivate and upgrade the facility. This feat has however not been accomplished.