Further dialogue with relevant stakeholders and mobilisation of members’ support are critical towards stopping alleged plans to balkanise or duplicate professional associations, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said.
Senator Omo-Agege who doubles as Chairman, Senate Adhoc Committee on Constitution Review, stated this in Abuja when two professional bodies – the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) – paid him courtesy visits.
The Delta Central lawmaker applauded the organisations for identifying vibrantly with national aspirations, adding that more home-grown solutions can be developed by them for the benefit of citizens.
Congratulating Dame Onome Joy Adeniyi on her election as National President of ICAN, the federal legislator expressed the willingness of the National Assembly to support ICAN’s initiatives, stressing that he is an opponent of duplicating or splitting professional bodies.
He said: “I do not believe in balkanisation or needless duplication of professional bodies and that is why I will never support a purported New NBA because I always believe that we have enough mechanisms for resolving differences or disputes rather than going to form rival bodies”.
Pointing out that other members of the National Assembly may have reasons for supporting the Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria Bill 2020 which ICAN vehemently objects to, the Deputy President of the Senate urged the Institute to take the issue before other stakeholders, including professional members of ICAN in both chambers of the National Assembly.
Earlier, while receiving leaders of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) on behalf of the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, he called for further research into Covid-19 and other vaccines.
Citing the UTAS payment system developed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senator Omo-Agege said pharmacists and other professional associations can develop home-grown solutions to existing challenges.
“We will take a good look at the ‘Pharmacy Council Bill’ as you requested. You can count on us moving forward. We support your position about effective regulation of the sale of prescription drugs, especially when some people sell substandard products that can harm many citizens,” he said.
Earlier, Pharmacist Sam Ohuabunwa had called for the National Assembly’s intervention towards getting several ministries, departments and agencies to settle about N17 billion debt being owed pharmaceutical companies across the country.
According to him, the huge debt burden had made it impossible for the local pharmaceutical companies to increase production capacities.
He also called for the passing of the Pharmacy Council Bill towards transforming pharmacy practice and curbing the national health security risk posed by indiscriminate importation of drugs.
He expressed concern that a ‘Bill for an Act to establish the Pharmaceutical Technologists and Pharmacy Technicians Regulatory Council of Nigeria’, which is also before the National Assembly, will not only unsettle Nigeria’s health sector but also balkanise the PSN.