Dear Governor Udom Emmanuel,
uring the week, pictures of a remodeled Ikot Ekpene General Hospital surfaced on the internet and it was remarkable. As a medical professional, investments in healthcare form a key component of human capital development, and your investments in improving and upgrading the secondary health facilities across Akwa Ibom state remains commendable. Health is wealth and thus far, you have demonstrated your insight into the importance of health in wealth creation.
Akwa Ibom needs to deepen her health sector through further investments in pharmaceuticals. Presently, Jubilee Syringe manufacturing company is on the rise to becoming a market leader in syringe production across Nigeria and has plans to expand into other medical supplies. Doubling on the success of the Jubilee syringe, there is a need to venture into pharmaceuticals. Drugs and medications are a necessity to existence and are used both in human and animal medicine. Investing in the pharmaceutical industry will ensure the state has a steady supply of medications for hospitals within and beyond Nigeria.
Recently, the President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria revealed that over 70% of drugs used in Nigeria are imported indicating a vital foreign exchange drain for the economy and fundamentally an area of investment that the state can key into as a source of revenue and an employment opportunity for indigenes of the state. Countries like India, China, Pakistan are known to generate huge incomes from their pharmaceutical industries by producing drugs for local and international consumptions
The pharmaceutical industry is diverse but such investments can be initiated within a niche. Infact, this can catalytically induce entrepreneurship within youths in the state as a vibrant pharmaceutical sector encourages research and innovation which are key ingredients for successful start-ups. At a time when youth unemployment rates are ballooning, the pharmaceutical industry is a key driver of labour as it attracts young talented graduates into a state and we definitely need a diverse and knowledgeable population.
No doubt, persons may describe this as a capital-intensive project which may not be financially prudent at this time but it is noteworthy, that your administration initiated the first state-owned airline at a time when the Federal government failed to deliver on a proposed national carrier and in the midst of a fall in oil prices. This airline has become a national pride, and, a pride to Ndito Akwa Ibom. Therefore, I firmly believe there is no better time than now to transform Akwa Ibom into a dominant force in the global pharmaceutical industry.
Dr. Edwin Okon Jr. MD, MRCS(Edinburgh) is a Medical Doctor and Medical Educator. He can be contacted via email on: firstname.lastname@example.org