CBN Gov. Challenges Nigerian Scientists On COVID-19 Vaccine
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has challenged Nigeria scientists to come up with vaccines against COVID-19, stating that the apex bank would give grants to researchers in this direction.
He made this statement at the inauguration of the This Day Dome Isolation Center in Abuja.
The Governor said: “In order to encourage greater research and development in Nigeria of drugs and vaccines that would help prevent the spread of the virus, the CBN is developing a framework under which grants and long term facilities will be provided to researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to develop the Nigerian vaccine. “Needless to state that if we are to wait for foreign countries to develop their own vaccines, we will be the last in the queue to receive curative remedies for our teeming population. “The Central Bank of Nigeria today challenges Nigerian scientists at home and in the diaspora to go back to their laboratories and develop a Nigerian vaccine. “Once validated by the Health Authorities, the CBN will step in and do the needful for the sake of over 200 million Nigerians now confronted by COVID-19.”
He commended the Nigerian private sector, who had come together under the Coalition against COVID-19 (CA-COVID) to support the government, by raising funds to provide needed Isolation Centres, medical equipment among others. He disclosed that so far, the CA-COVlD-19 had raised up to N27 Billion to fund these initiatives, adding that these donations were being used to build well-equipped isolation centres across the 36 states of the federation. Speaking on the effect of the pandemic on the Nigerian economy, Emefiele said it is exposed to triple shocks including a supply shock, a demand shock and a revenue shock. He added: “Permit me to state that we are currently faced with a public health and economic crisis of unprecedented proportions, driven primarily by the 55% drop in crude oil prices between January and May 2020. “This unparalleled shock requires that the Federal and state governments along with the organised private sector, work together to address these challenges in order to preserve lives and restore economic activity and reset the economy of our dear country.” He noted that in a bid to cushion the impacts of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy, the CBN has implemented several initiatives such as the N5O billion intervention facility for small and medium scale enterprises affected by the disease in addition to the N1 trillion facility for firms operating in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. He further said: “We are also working with financial institutions to enable the continuous flow of credit to viable businesses while putting in place provisions such as moratoriums and restructuring of existing loans under CBN intervention funds, that have been provided to businesses. “These measures are intended to cushion the effects of the slowdown in economic activity on businesses while putting them in better stead to help resuscitate economic activity in the country.” He declared, however, that the nation’s ability to restore the growth of the economy is dependent on how it addresses the public health crisis brought on by COVID-19. “It is in the realisation of this fact that the CBN recently launched a N100bn healthcare intervention fund. Practitioners in the pharmaceutical and health care sectors will be able to access finance at a single-digit rate through this fund,” the CBN boss declared. He added that the aim is to improve the capacity of the nation’s health system to address rising public health challenges.
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