The Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapa, has announced plans by the ruling government under President Nana Akufo-Addo to establish a Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Hub called ‘Pharma Park’ in Ghana.

He said Government itself recognizes that pharmaceutical manufacturing and pharmaceutical industry is an industry that we can develop to move the focus and the attention from the traditional growth poles that we know, cocoa and gold.

He said under this initiative, the pharmaceutical industry would partner with the Pharmaceutical Chamber to create a Pharma Park in the industrial zone which will make accessible lands for the pharmaceutical sector to set up manufacturing factories there.

He was speaking as the Special Guest of Honour during the official launch of Prime Pharmacy’s ultra-modern 14th retail branch located on the East Legon Acheampong Road in Accra on Thursday 14th April 2022.

Prime Pharmacy is one of the leading retailers of pharmaceuticals in Ghana and has been in existence for the past 14 years.

The ceremony was graced by the Egyptian High Commissioner to Ghana, Aldesouky Mahmoud Youssef, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Herbert Krapah among others.

“This is what we call the strategic anchor industries and a most important part of those strategic anchor industries is pharmaceutical development.

Government is determined to create other industries and help to create the manufacturing and the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry to help create the jobs, to help add value to the resources that we have locally.

This infrastructure we believe will incentivize and entice up-and-coming business people to come into the manufacturing space,” the minister indicated.

The minister also disclosed that steps are being taken by the government to develop a policy called the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Development Policy.

He mentioned that this is intended to attract investments both domestically and internationally into the pharmaceutical industry.

”The other important point is that government recognising that the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry is a crucial one, is taking steps to develop a policy what we call the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Development Policy, and this intended to attract investments both domestically and internationally into the pharmaceutical industry.”

He was particularly happy that Prime Pharmacy was taking the steps to move from retailing into large-scale pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Touching on COVID-19, he said hard lessons during the pandemic have shown that we can’t continue to rely on international supplies for the consumption that we have in Ghana.

“We need to be able to break the supply chain and be domestic in terms of the value chains that we create. And that is why your participation in that industry is very important and for the government, once this policy is fully operational, will continue to help you with joint ventures with international partners to be able to create pharmaceutical manufacturing in Ghana. The good news is that Ghana’s pharmaceutical products meet the highest standards in the West African sub-region,” he said.

He continued…“When you talk about West Africa Ghana ranks highest in terms of the pharmaceutical products that are coming into the region and are being exported into Africa, and that is because the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) is very stringent in its policies and the need for standards adherence to ensure that manufacturers are adhering to those standards and meeting the WHO good manufacturing practices standards.

He commended the Board Chairman of Prime Pharmacy, Mr. Charles Forson for taking a keen interest in the government’s flagship policy the 1-District 1-Factory.

He used the occasion to outline and highlight some benefits companies derive from the 1-District 1-Factory programme.

“There are a lot of benefits under the 1 District 1 Factory programme. You import your inputs as well as your equipment and machinery duty-free quota-free, corporate tax holidays for five years; as well as once you are an indigenous Ghanaian company if you take a loan from any of the participating financial institutions and banks under the 1-D 1-F, there is a 50% subsidy of your loan interest.

This is to enable and cushion you and to ensure that indigenous Ghanaian businesses are also climbing up the ladder and enjoying the benefits that we have within the manufacturing space,” he said.

He further pledged his full support and commitment on the part of the government for Prime Pharmacy.

“I believe that being here today opening this brand with you, I should be part of the story of the opening of your own manufacturing factory very soon, you have my full support. As you know so far, there are over 284 factories and 106 are currently operational and we will make sure that you get all necessary support to open your own pharmaceutical manufacturing factory.”

In his welcome address, the Board Chairman of Prime Pharmacy, Mr Charles Forson expressed excitement with the singular privilege to once again introduce the flagship brand Prime Pharmacy to the people.

He revealed that this milestone is the vision for a long-term future to reach a 3-digit number of outlets across the nation in the retail pharmacy sector.

“We, are now in the two-digits and the focus is to grant quality pharmacy solutions in every community,” he said.

He also bemoaned the excessive importation of drugs and pharmaceuticals into Ghana which always put the Ghana Cedi under pressure against major foreign currencies.

He was also optimistic and mentioned that “this initiative will also help strengthen the Ghana Cedi as we know that the depreciation of the Cedi is mainly driven by the excessive importation of everything pharmaceutical in Ghana. It will also help reduce unemployment.”

On that note, he further indicated that within Prime’s framework as well as within the short to medium term, there have been advanced plans to operationalize the manufacturing unit which will be under the auspices of the 1-D 1-F, a government flagship project.

He continued…..“To help address the over-dependence on the importation of everything pharmaceutical, the organization has refocused its overall objective by taking steps to venture into pharmaceutical manufacturing.”

“And to add it, the building is already in place and we will be going to the Trade Ministry for the able support of government.

We believe government through the Ministry of Trade will support Prime Pharmacy through this very line of business which will help reduce the importation of some drugs into the country,” Mr. Charles Forson stated.