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PHARMANOVA Zambia Limited has appealed to the Ministry of Finance to reconsider the concessions given on imported drugs, as local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are at a disadvantage

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Pharmanova Zambia Limited’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mohammed Umar says local pharmaceutical manufacturing companies are facing disadvantages as they have to pay customs duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) to produce the same products that are being imported into the country.

Mr. Umar made the appeal when he featured on the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) program called ‘Investment Trends,’ which aired on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television on Thursday evening.

“One or two appeals I would have for the government; the first one being to the Ministry of Finance to level the playing field in terms of concessions given on imports of finished products such as paracetamol. Foreign companies do not pay duties or VAT but as a local manufacturer, when importing raw materials to produce the same paracetamol tablets, unfortunately, I have to pay duty and VAT,” Mr Umar said.

He stated that local manufacturing companies could only achieve competitive parity if the Minister of Finance could revise the current policies.  

He also appealed to the Government, through the Ministry of Commerce and Trade, to incentivize the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. 

Mr. Umar commended the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) for creating platforms for the private sector to market their products both regionally and internationally, emphasizing that market access was crucial as the world had become a global village.

He said ZDA had been creating opportunities for private sector companies in Zambia to showcase their products in various countries during expositions and trade forums. 

“ZDA is doing a tremendous job to create a platform for private sector business to thrive not only within Zambia but on the continent as well. Any forum that is available for businesses ZDA ensures that private sector is involved by making them a part of the delegation,” he said. 

Mr. Umar said Zambia was well positioned to be a regional and global pharmaceutical manufacturing hub for essential medicines. 

“Recently, I was invited to present at the Africa vaccine manufacturing conference in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa and I did specify that Zambia is strategically located and investment of a vaccine facility in the country would be strategic not only for the country but for the region as well,” Mr Umar said. 

He revealed that Pharmanova was currently in the process of developing a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing plant which had been approved by WHO, FDA, and EU standards. 

He explained that the facility would produce essential medicines to address the unique disease profile of the country and the southern African region. 

He said once the facility was complete, Pharmanova would start exporting essential medicines into the region. 

Mr Umar stated that with the new facility in place, Pharmanova was aiming to enhance healthcare security for Zambia and its neighboring countries.



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