A Port-Harcourt-based medical supplies firm, Integrated Medical Industries, has embarked on a $280million expansion project.
The expansion project, which is mostly funded through an Export Credit Agency (ECA) facility from Germany and Austria, with a nine-year tenure and two years' grace period, is expected to be completed by August 2014.
Upon completion, the company is expected to increase its production capacity from the current 160 million to one billion per annum, with the ability to double the syringes requirements of Nigeria and even export to the West African markets.
The Managing Director/CEO, Integrated Medical Industries, Mr. Anaewu Nwokoma Anaeyo, who is also the project coordinator, disclosed these in an interview with THISDAY in Lagos.
Anaeyo disclosed that the project, upon completion, would see his company producing one billion syringes per annum in addition to about 90 million litres of infusion solutions as well as 100 million litres of ear infusions.
"We are the first company in Nigeria to manufacture some of these products. The transition is quite challenging and that is why we are looking at the whole process as a project. Bulk of the N280 million financing is coming from ECA facility from Germany and Austria with a nine-year tenure and two years grace period," he said. According to the managing Director, "In terms of what we are doing, we are like the first company in Nigeria to access this facility though a lot of other companies are benefitting from the facility.
"When we complete the project, our output will be twice the requirements of Nigeria annually. Though we are based in Port Harcourt, we are coming to Lagos in a big way because Lagos is the centre of commerce and the gateway to the sub-region. We already have production and distribution rights in the 23 West and Central African countries, starting from Mauritania right through to Angola."
Anaeyo lamented the unregulated nature of the medical supplies market in Nigeria, saying it is for every Dick, Tom and Harry. "Why are we having 150 importers of syringes in Nigeria while in the United Kingdom, they have only four importers and UNICEF also imports syringes from only four importers," he asked rhetorically.
He lauded the efforts of the National Agency for Foods and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) despite the challenges, saying more funds should be given to the agency to enable it achieve the goals for which it was set up.