CBN Ready To Partner Private Sector To Tackle COVID-19 Challenges, Emefiele

By Peter Egwuatu
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN yesterday revealed its readiness to partner the private sector in its quest to tackle novel coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, as Lagos State commissions an ultra-modern disease isolation centre in Yaba.

This newly commissioned isolation centre is an initiative of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), a private sector initiative, established to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the unveiling, the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said: The launch of the newly built isolation centre will surely help in boosting the capacity of Nigerias healthcare system towards containing the spread of COVID-19 in Lagos state. The CBN is ready to work with the private sector and support any initiative in tackling this pandemic.

Emefiele said that the efforts to contain the spread of this virus have had an unprecedented impact on the global economy and indeed the Nigerian economy while adding that global growth is expected to contract by over 4.9 percent in 2020 down from positive growth of 2.9 per cent in 2019.

He said: The Nigerian economy was exposed to a twin shock, a public health crisis and revenue shock driven primarily by 55 per cent drop in crude oil prices between January and May 2020.

This un-parallel shock must require that all state governments along with the organised private sector to work together to address these challenges in order to preserve lives and restore economic activities in our country. We have implemented several initiatives to cushion the effects of the pandemic which include the N50 billion intervention facility for house-hold and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises,SMEs that were adversely affected by the pandemic;N100 billion facility for the health and pharmaceutical sector and an N1 trillion facility for the agricultural and manufacturing firms of the economy.

Our inability to accurately predict the extent to which the virus could spread and how long it will last requires that we build a sufficient capacity within our healthcare system in order to prevent the spread of the virus and preserve the lives of vulnerable Nigerians and this requires that all parties come together in order to deal with this great challenge.

He thereafter commended the private sector-led coalition group for supporting the government by providing donations worth N29 billion while adding that these donations are being used to build well-equipped isolation centres across the federation.

So far CACOVID alliance has provided about 32 isolation centers across 32 states, we anticipate that by the end of July, 39 isolation centres would have been established all over the federation, the CBN Governor said.

Also speaking, the Governor, Lagos state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said, the launch of the isolation centre speaks to the can-do spirit of Nigerians as well as our private sector.

According to him:The state has done at least about 24,000 and above bed spaces when Nigeria was about 3,000 It was a concern to us, thus, it is clear that we have the capacity to deal with this pandemic and I must commend what CACOVID has done as well as other coalition groups in the country who have supported the nation.

He said, In Lagos, we have seen slightly about 10,000 positive cases and we are managing them. We have seen 1500 discharged individuals from our isolation centres whilst we have seen about 5000 who have gotten well and so as we speak we have recorded 128 deaths. This speaks volumes of how well we are combating the pandemic.

He, however, noted that there was a challenge with identifying the critical and severe cases while adding that the state government is working on a strategy to monitor those cases.

This facility will certainly add to our capacity and enable us to do a lot more in scaling up. This centre will see us building an international infectious disease- research centre,isolation wards, doctors quarters and we will also commission a private sector-led morgue. We are excited that people can come here, get well, and go back to their respective homes.

President and Chief Executive of Dangote Group and Chairman of the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), Aliko Dangote, explained that the newly commissioned isolation center is the most elaborate one that has been built so far.

Dangote who was represented by the Chief Executive Officer of ADF, Zouera Youssoufou, said, we are very proud because this isolation center is a model of what we are going to be doing in the remaining states as we are still building more across the federation. So it is with great pride that we hand over this to the Lagos state government as this is very important.

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