Nigeria’s Central Bank, Dangote plan N120bn COVID-19 fund
The Central Bank of Nigeria and the private sector, led by Aliko Dangote Foundation and Access Bank, have announced plans to set up a coalition aimed at raising N120bn towards the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Godwin Emefiele,the governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, said at a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday that the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 was created out of the urgent need to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
According to him, four major committees were set up, namely, funding, steering, operational and technical committees.
He said each member of the funding committee would contribute at least N1bn.
Emefiele said, “Information gathered so far has revealed that to procure all needed equipment, material and infrastructure needed to fight the corona pandemic, over N120bn must to be raised.
“The Bankers Committee and these important stakeholders will be required to step up to support this endeavour. We are already engaging other important stakeholders in Nigeria and abroad, such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and players in oil industry.”
The CBN governor said an account would be set up at the CBN to receive both naira and foreign currencies from donors.
He said the steering committee would be chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who currently chairs the Federal Government Committee on Covid-19.
He said, “The funding committee will be responsible for the initial funding of the effort. Membership comprises the CBN governor, Aliko Dangote, Herbert Wigwe, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, Segun Agbaje, Abdulsamad Rabiu and Femi Otedola.
“Each member of the committee is to ensure that their institution contributes at least N1bn to this effort. More members are allowed as long as they are willing to contribute at least N1bn.”
The founder of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, announced on Thursday a donation of N1bn through the BUA Foundation to strengthen the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The company said in a statement that Rabiu had also placed an order for additional equipment and medical supplies including testing kits and medical protective gears, which he would donate to nine states in the country.
“States to benefit are Lagos, Kano, Adamawa, Edo, Kwara, Rivers, Abia, Akwa-Ibom and Sokoto,” it added.
Rabiu was quoted as saying that the N1bn donation would be given through the Central Bank of Nigeria-led Private Sector Coalition Committee against COVID-19.
In a related development, Access Bank Plc has said it is teaming up with Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, to provide treatment and isolation centres across the country.
The bank was quoted as saying in an emailed statement on Thursday that the facilities, with a total of 1,000 beds, would be ready within weeks.
The United Bank for Africa Plc had earlier said it would donate about N5bn towards providing relief assistance to Nigeria and 19 others across Africa to support their governments in combating the viral infection.
This will help the countries benefitting from this donation with the support needed during this trying time. The federal capital territory will receive a donation of ₦500 million, Lagos to receive $2.8 million while the other states receive ₦1.5 billion.
The donation which will provide financial assistance to the government includes also relief material supplies, critical care equipment, free telemedicine call centre facility that allows people access to medical advice and also a medical centre with free beds and ICU facilities in Lagos State.
This medical centre is managed alongside Holdings’ healthcare subsidiary, Avon Medical Hospital. Tony Elumelu the UBA Group chairman stated that this is a time for everyone to support and show solidarity
Also Atlas Mara-backed Union Bank is partnering with 54gene, a U.S.-based genetic research company, using a $500,000 funding facility to increase Covid-19 testing capacity in Nigeria to 1,000 daily. 54gene launched the testing support fund with $150,000 to secure instruments and protective equipment needed to keep health-care workers safe. The company aims to increase rate of testing in Nigeria to 5,000 tests daily working with other partners.
Another mega is from State-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. The organisation announced on Friday a donation of $30 million from the oil industry to support the fight against the virus.