Federal Executive Council has approved a joint venture between the federal ministry of health and a major pharmaceutical company, May and Baker Nigeria PLC for the production of vaccines.
The final agreement on the vaccine project that will be based in Lagos is to be signed within the next two weeks.
Health minister, Professor Isaac Adewole, who made this known to the State House correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting, said the project will take off this year.
Under the production programme, the minister explained that basic vaccine will be produced between 2017 and 2021.
Federal government, according to him, will take a 49 per cent stake in the project.
He said: “FEC approved joint venture agreement between the Federal Government and Baker Plc to produce vaccines from 2017-2021.
“The Federal Government is using existing facility at the Federal Vaccine Production Production Lab, Lagos, as our equity. And that has been assessed by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing to be about N1.27 billion and May and Baker will put in about N1.3 billion in keeping with the 51, 49 per cent equity participation.
“Between 1940 and1991, Nigeria was not only producing vaccines, such as smallpox, yellow fever, and anti-rabies vaccines, but we also exported to Cameroon, Central African Republic and a few other countries.
“In 1991, the Vaccine Production Laboratory stopped production ostensibly because government wanted to reactivate and upgrade the facility, which did not take place till today.
“What council did today was to was put life into this joint venture agreement that proposes to establish a company called Bio-vaccines Ltd, which will be jointly owned by Federal Government of Nigeria and May and Baker Plc,” the minister said.
“Hopefully in the next two weeks, we should sign this agreement and we are ready to fly,” he said.