By Adedapo Adesanya
May and Baker Plc, GSK, Fidson Healthcare Plc and other pharmaceutical companies in the country will benefit from the N3.5 trillion special intervention fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The apex bank confirmed this development after its meeting on Saturday with the Bankers’ Committee, where the impact of the coronavirus on the nation’s economy was extensively discussed.
The fund is the enable pharmaceutical companies in the country produce drugs to help tackle the COVID-19, which has so far infected not less than 30 persons in Nigeria, including an Italian, who was the index case, but has now fully recovered and discharged from isolation.
The CBN said the N3.5 trillion intervention fund would be given to these firms as grants to enable them to procure raw materials and equipment to boost local drug production in Nigeria fully backed by the Federal Government policy.
Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said other companies include Neimeth International Plc, Unique Pharma, Swiss Pharma, Dana Pharma, Orange Drugs, Sagar, Emzor Pharmaceuticals among others, adding that the list of companies that will get the intervention funds are not limited.
According to the CBN Chief, “The Bankers’ Committee took the decision to support the pharmaceutical companies given the fact that the present pandemic was of grave public health concern, coupled with the fact that many drug-manufacturing countries planned or had already banned the export of drugs and medical supplies from their respective countries, thereby leaving Nigeria no choice but to produce the drugs locally.”
In line with his drive for supporting locally made goods and services, Mr Emefiele and the Bankers’ Committee advised Nigerians and companies to prioritize their import needs and focus more on sourcing raw materials and input locally.
It was also disclosed that to support the country’s economy at a time like this, it was important to pay attention to the health sector, considering the magnitude of the pandemic the country has on its hands.
Speaking further when he briefed the media on Saturday after the meeting, Mr Emefiele disclosed that engagements will be held with correspondent banks, trade creditors, trading partners regarding existing letters of credit and trade commitments so the country can be financial stable and there could be confidence among Nigerians.
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