- Project’s Rs.8bn phase one to begin this month
- SL expects to meet 50% of its pharma demand through local manufacturing next 2-3 years
The Cabinet of Ministers this week granted approval to expedite the setting up of the proposed pharmaceutical zone in Millewa in Horana.
The proposed pharmaceutical zone will engage in manufacturing orthopedic and neurosurgical equipment, anti-cancer drugs, pills and capsules and surgical instruments, and internal contact lenses.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Housing and Urban Development Minister,together with Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi presented a joint proposal to the Cabinet of Ministers on Monday seeking approval to appoint a Steering Committee chaired by the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance to take necessary steps to expedite the implementation of the proposed project.
Further, Cabinet approval was also sought to appoint a Project Management Committee headed by the Chairman of State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) to provide the necessary technical support to the Steering Committee.
The Government Information Department said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed between SPC and Urban Development Authority (UDA) to allocate 64 acres and 83.3 perches in Millewa belonging to the UDA to establish the proposed pharmaceutical zone.
In 2017, a 700-acre land in the Millewa Estate was acquired from Kotagala Plantation PLC by UDA to setup a Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical and Modernized Ayurvedic Cluster under Horana Industrial Township Project. However, a study conducted by Ernst & Young, Shin Nihon LLC projected high development cost for the proposed cluster.
In addition, the joint cabinet proposal also sought the approval to appoint Selendiva Investments Company, a fully State-owned company, as Project Manager to provide pre-and post-contract and financial consulting services.
Selendiva Investments was setup under the purview of the Finance Ministry and is chaired by former UDA Chairman, Nimal Perera. The company aims to become the key investment arm of the government facilitating both foreign and local investments in the country.
The Government Information Department noted that the proposed zone would be implemented in two stages. The first phase is scheduled to commence within this month with an estimated investment of Rs.8 billion.
Under the government’s policy to enhance local production of pharmaceuticals, SPC has also taken measures to setup pharmaceutical zones in Arabokka in the Hambantota District and Oyamaduwa in the Anuradhapura District.
Oyamaduwa pharmaceutical zone is expected to draw US$ 300 million investments from local investors while Arabokka pharmaceutical zone aims to attract leading global pharmaceutical manufactures.
The government aims to meet 50 percent of the country’s pharmaceuticals demand through local manufacturing in the next 2-3 years. Currently, only 15 percent of the demand is met through the locally produced pharmaceuticals.