As Nigeria continues to record new cases of coronavirus, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee have pledged to grant funding facilities (in naira and foreign exchange) to the tune of 3.5 trillion naira to some specific pharmaceutical companies in the country to enable them procure raw materials and equipment to boost local drug production.
Reading the communique of a meeting held by the Bankers’ Committee on Saturday, 21 March, 2020, CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who chaired the meeting listed the beneficiary companies to include Emzor, Fidson, GSK, May & Baker, Unique Pharma, Swiss Pharma, Neimeth, Sagar, Orange Drugs, and Dana Pharma.
According to Emefiele, the Committee – comprising chief executives of Nigerian banks and the directors of the different departments of the CBN – took the decision to support the indigenous pharmaceutical companies because the rampaging epidemic has become a grave public health concern.
This, he said, is in addition to the fact that many drug-manufacturing countries have banned or are planning to ban exportation of drugs and medical supplies from their respective countries, thereby leaving Nigeria with no choice but to produce the drugs locally.
Emefiele further disclosed that the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee had resolved to collaborate with a coherent strategy to provide confidence to the customers, counter parties, the public and ultimately putting Nigeria first.
While disclosing that engagements would be held with corresponding banks and trading partners regarding existing letters of credit and trade commitments, the CBN governor assured that the banking industry was committed to resolving all existing commitments in a comprehensive and orderly way.
Emefiele further said that the industry had also resolved that profit would not be the primary motive at this time. “Rather, preserving confidence, financial stability and support for the economy will be the overriding objectives,” he said.
CBN Governor and the Bankers’ Committee, in view of disruptions to global supply chains, advised Nigerians and indigenous companies to prioritise their import needs and focus more on sourcing raw materials and inputs locally.