Give capital to MSD, Parliament asks govt

THE National Assembly has advised the government to provide 561.5bn/- as capital to the Medical Stores Department (MSD) to improve the availability of health commodities, support investment in pharmaceutical industries and increase storage capacity by constructing enough warehouses.

The MPs said that MSD is facing a huge challenge of limited capital amounting to 561.5bn/- that has affected its operations including failure to purchase all the required health commodities as a result it continues to wait for funds from the health facilities.

Tabling a report on activities undertaken by the Parliamentary Committee on Health and HIV/ AIDS in 2023, its chairman Mr Stanslaus Nyongo said the committee has identified various challenges facing the department including lack of capital.

He said the main duties of MSD are to procure, produce, store, and distribute health commodities to public health facilities and private facilities approved by the Ministry of Health.

Nyongo said that in 2022/2023 MSD through the Ministry of Health presented a capital request which could enable it to execute its duties efficiently.

The chairman said, that of the capital requested, 204bn/- could be used for procurement of health commodities, 66.9bn/- for construction of warehouses, 100.46bn/- for construction of pharmaceutical industries and 191bn/- for clearing outstanding debts.

He, however, said that despite the challenges, the department has also recorded some successes, noting that until June 2023 it collected 373.4bn/- equivalent to 83 per cent which is an increase of 53.5bn/- from 320.9bn/- collected in 2021/2022.

He also said that the availability of medicines has been strengthened reaching 80 percent by June last year from 57 per cent in July 2022.

Mr Nyongo said that MSD has been implementing a strategy of encouraging the construction of pharmaceutical industries such as a latex glove plant in Idofi, Njombe and another one for cotton commodities in Simiyu as well as construction of the warehouses.

He further said that MSD has established a subsidiary company dubbed.“MSD Medipharm Manufacturing Company Limited” which will oversee all pharmaceutical industries in the country.

On low investment in pharmaceutical industries, he said that the National Assembly resolves the government should set up strategies of involving the private sector (Public Private Partnership-PPP) and facilitate investment in pharmaceutical industries to meet the demand in domestic and international markets.

Mr Nyongo said, the National Assembly also directed the revival of the Arusha Pharmaceutical Industry and increased production at Keko Pharmaceutical Industry in Dar es Salaam where the government has a 70 per cent stake.

The August House also directed MSD to expedite the production of cotton-related products to reduce the importation of the commodities since the raw material is available in the country.

Speaking during the laying of a foundation stone for the gloves factory at Idofi in Njombe Region in November last year, Vice President Dr Philip Mpango expressed government determination to ensure pharmaceutical factories are established in the country despite opposition from some individuals and entities.

The VP said the government is aware of the existence of opposition from individuals and entities on the construction of pharmaceutical factories in the country, insisting that since the development is the result of the decision by President Samia Suluhu Hassan no one will manage to stall such projects.

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