Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade Exaud Kigahe said this when responding to a basic question by Singida Urban MP Musa Sima (CCM) who sought to know the government’s strategies to establish pharmaceutical factories in the country in order to reduce importation of the products .
The lawmaker claimed that the government has been spending a lot of money for importation of pharmaceutical products.
Responding, the deputy minister acknowledged that currently the country procures 80 per cent of pharmaceuticals requirements from overseas.
He said that although the country has several pharmaceutical factories, their production capacity is low to meet the country’s demand.
The deputy Minister said that currently, the country has fourteen pharmaceutical factories of which twelve produce human medicines and two veterinary factories and one which produces medical supplies.
“The ministry is taking various actions to boost domestic production of pharmaceutical products by creating an enabling environment to attract more investors,” he said.
He said that the government intention to boost domestic production of pharmaceuticals also goes in line with increasing efficiency of the available factories.
Kigahe said that other measures being taken include the formation of a national committee to deal with pharmaceutical factories, creating an enabling environment that will attract local and foreign investors to invest in the industry.
He said the government has scrapped VAT on medical packages produced within and outside the country, and reduced income tax by 30 percent which has helped to attract new investments and expansion of factories in a period of two years.
“The government has also given special priority on medicines produced within the country through Medical Store Department (MSD),” he said
He said that the government was still making follow up on eleven investors whose construction of their factories is in progress.
“The aim is to reduce the cost incurred for procuring medicines and medical supplies from overseas by facilitating production of the products in the country which will also create employment to Tanzanians,” he said.
Available statistics from Tanzania Local Pharma Strategy Paper of 2016 show that the market need for medicines, medical devices and lab reagents for the country reached 457 million US dollars (about 1tri/-) annually.