Dar es Salaam — Construction of two pharmaceutical factories that are meant to help Tanzania reduce its expenditure on imported drugs is at advanced stages, a spot check has established.
Every year Tanzania loses over Sh800 billion on importing medicine and medical supplies, data obtained from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment shows.
According to statistics by the minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, Tanzania imports about 94 per cent of its needs in medicines from Kenya, Uganda, India and other countries - with only six per cent being sourced locally.
And yesterday, Ms Mwalimu witnessed the construction of the two factories, Kairuki and Vista, which have reached at least 75 per cent stage of completion. Actual investment in the two factories stands at Sh70 billion.
The principal promoter of the Kairuki project, Mr Mganyizi Kairuki, told Ms Mwalimu that upon completion the factory will produce eight types of syrup medicines, including antibiotics and paracetamol as well as some surgeon medications.
According to him, once production starts, the project will create 250 direct jobs and some 500 indirectly.
Ms Mwalimu urged some government institutions such as the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to collaborate with investors to remove barriers that might affect them in the construction of pharmaceutical industries.
"The country is very much in need of these industries because out of every Sh100 that the government spends on medicine procurement, Sh94 goes to foreign countries," she said.
She stressed that the government currently depended on Foreign Regulatory Board (FRA) to certify the safety of medicine because most of medicines were not produced in Tanzania. He urged local investors to construct pharmaceutical industries to curb conversion of the shilling into foreign currencies.
"Construct as many industries as you can. The government will consider price preference for local producers over foreign medicines," she said.
government will consider price preference for local than foreign medicine," she said.