COVID-19: CBN, Access bank, Dangote lead others to raise N120bn  

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, Managing Director, Access Bank Plc Mr Herbert Wigwe and President of the Aliko Dangote group of companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on Thursday led other prominent Nigerians and Deposit Money Banks in the formation of the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19.

The Coalition created out of the urgent need to combat the unfolding COVID-19 crisis in Nigeria, said it is targeting over N120billion to procure all the needed equipment, material, and all infrastructure needed to fight this pandemic.

“The rate at which the virus is spreading is unprecedented and it appears we are fighting our most lethal adversary to date. 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 NNPC and players in the oil industry. An account will be set up at the Central Bank of Nigeria to receive both Naira and foreign currency from our donors,” Emefiele said.

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The funding Committee according to the coalition will be responsible for the initial funding of the effort. Membership comprises of 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 N1billion to this effort, even as it is expected that more members will be allowed to join as long as they are willing to contribute at least N1billion.

Similarly, the operational Committee, responsible for project management, logistics, communication and advocacy, comprise CBN Governor, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, GT Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, Unity Bank, Nigerian Breweries Plc.

Tribune Online reports that the CBN last Thursday hinted of its plans to provide another N1trillion intervention fund to support key sectors of the economy amidst the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

This came some days after the apex bank announced a six-point palliative to ameliorate the continued impact of the coronavirus on the nation’s economy and supply chains.

It will be recalled that the CBN had earlier also dropped interest rates on all its intervention funds from 9 per cent to 5 per cent.

The apex bank had also announced additional N50billion intervention fund to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the affected enterprises nationwide.

So far, the Federal Government has made giant strides in the fight but it is clear that the private sector needs to step in and support efforts already being made. The objectives of the Coalition according to the working document seen by Tribune Online are to Mobilise private sector thought leadership; Mobilise private sector resources; Increase general public awareness, education and buy-in; Provide direct support to private and public healthcare’s ability to respond to the crisis; Support Government effort.

In doing this, the Coalition has set up four major committees comprising of 1. Steering Committee to provide leadership and steer the coalition and committees in procuring all needed funding, equipment and materials for the battle against this pandemic.

The steering committee will be chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha who currently chairs the Federal Government Committee on Covid-19. Other members of the Committee will be announced later, it stated.

Technical Committee, responsible for gathering data about the equipment and materials needed nationwide. They will also be responsible for intellectual leadership around testing issues, treatment protocols, isolation centres, etc. Membership Comprised of NCDC, WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Federal Ministry of Health and select members of the operational and funding committee.

Mr Emefiele announced that the Bankers Committee and these important Stakeholders will be required to step up to support this endeavour, just as an account will be set up at the Central Bank of Nigeria to receive both Naira and foreign currency from donors.

The Technical Committee will be providing information about the venue where equipment and materials will be received just for those who wish to donate materials and equipment.

“The need for all Nigerians to play a role in this fight cannot be understated as we are quite literally in the fight of our lives. I must highlight the fact that this is not just about bringing money. Your time, your services, your products will all be helpful. The committee has already begun work,” Emefiele stated.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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