Syringe manufacturers perplexed with govt’s latest poke

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The Central government should be a “fair buyer”, the Indian syringe industry said after its directive to manufacturers to delay the supplies of over 24.27 crore syringes by couple of months.

“Better supply chain management is requested on the part of the Central government. The Government of India needs to be a fair buyer,” All India Syringes & Needles Manufacturers Association President Rajiv Nath told IANS.

As a result of the decision, the production and working capital schedule of several syringe makers would be affected, he added.

“We had sought export restrictions to be lifted in December 2021. The Central government in October 2021 had kindly agreed to reduce the four month restrictions (originally till January 2022) to December 2021 end. However, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) did not lift the export restrictions formally through a notification till January 31, 2022. And now suddenly in two weeks the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare wishes us to stop manufacturing or hold stocks for two months,” Nath bemoaned.

According to him, the high volume high speed production lines cannot be switched overnight from domestic market labelling to export labelling and international buyers preferred specifications.

India swung from reported shortages for Covid vaccination in September-October 2021 period whereby the Indian government announced exports restrictions on syringes for four months from October 2021 to January 2022 to surplus inventories, insufficient storage space crisis and a dwindling demand with the demand for vaccination ebbing, he added.

The orders were placed to target two billion Covid vaccination shots by December 2021 and later extended to March 2022 however against this 1.75 billion shots have been given leading to reversal of crisis of plenty so in less than two weeks as the restrictions on exports were in vogue.

According to Nath, it is not clear if the government’s latest action will have a cascading effect and orders placed for April to July 2022 delivery will be rescheduled by two months further or they will need to be supplied alongside the rescheduled deliveries.

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