CBN issues N253.4m grant to check COVID-19 pandemic

Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele says that a vibrant and innovative healthcare system is vital for the country’s national security, hence the need to encourage research and innovation in the treatment of health conditions for the Nigerian citizens.

He stated this at the bank’s headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday during the presentation of grants to successful beneficiaries of the health sector research and development intervention scheme.

Mr. Emefiele disclosed that 68 proposals out of the 286 submissions received by the body of experts had been reviewed and evaluated with five proposals with significant merits valued at N253.54 million recommended by the experts for financing. He added that the recommended proposals also have the potential to enable the development of the Nigerian vaccine for COVID-19.

The governor said the grant award was a testimony to the significant role research and development in healthcare could play in supporting economic growth, particularly as growth was highly dependent on a strong and healthy workforce.

Emefiele also noted that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which had an unprecedented effect on world economy, underscored the fact that a healthy and safe workforce remained critical for a continued economic growth as well as the stability of the financial system.

He equally emphasised that the need to move from a consumer-based economy to a more productive economy necessitated the CBN’s development of intervention programmes and schemes across various sectors including the health sector.

Continuing, the CBN governor said that the bank introduced the scheme as part of measures to support the growth of the Nigerian healthcare sector.

According to him, the facility aimed at strengthening the sector’s capacity to meet the increasing demand for healthcare products and services, particularly pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare value chain players intending to build or expand capacity.

The CBN governor also disclosed that 82 projects, valued at N85.89-billion, comprising 26 pharmaceutical and 56 medical projects across the country had been financed through the scheme.

While congratulating the recipients of the grant award, Emefiele urged them to judiciously utilise the opportunity offered to them by the CBN and strive to achieve the purpose of their research by ensuring that their projects meet the set targets. He expressed optimism that the CBN grant will offer an average Nigerian access to the much-needed vaccines and drugs for not just COVID-19, but other communicable or non-communicable diseases.

Recipients of the CBN grant award include Prof. Olufemi Emmanuel Dokun-Babalola, Prof. Okoli Ikechukwu, John Ogedengbe, Garba Uba and O’tega Ejofodomi.