By Ben Adoga
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN says it was ready to give loans to Nigerian scientists for the production of COVID 19 vaccine, Godwin Emefiele, Govetnor, Central Bank of Nigeria has assured.
Emefiele called on Nigerian scientists to do all they could and develop a Nigerian vaccine to curb the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
He gave this assurance in Abuja during the handing over of THISDAY Dome as temporary treatment and isolation center for COVID 19 to the Ministry of Health and the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
He assured that once the Nigerian health authorities validates the claim or product the CBN will step in and provide grants to researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to produce the Nigerian vaccine.
Emefiele, however, warned: “Needless to state that if we are to wait for foreign countries to develop their own vaccines, we will be the last in the queue to receive curative remedies for our teeming population.”
He said: “The COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on the global economy, impacting all nations big and small, … institutions like the IMF have pronounced that the effect on the global economy will be akin to the slowdown experienced during the Great Depression of the 1930s.”
The CBN boss said global growth is expected to contract to 3 percent in 2020, down from a positive growth rate of 2.9 percent in 2019 which is effectively a 6% contraction.
Emefiele continued: “In Nigeria, our economy is exposed to triple shocks; a supply shock, a demand shock and a revenue shock. Permit me to state that we are currently faced with a public health and economic crisis of unprecedented proportions, driven primarily by the 55 percent drop in crude oil prices between January and May 2020. This unparalleled shock requires that the Federal and State governments along with the organized private sector, work together to address these challenges in order to preserve lives and restore economic activity and reset the economy of our dear country.
“In a bid to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) has implemented several initiatives such as the N50b intervention facility for small and medium scale enterprises affected by COVID-19; in addition to the N1 trillion facility for firms operating in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. We are also working with financial institutions to enable the continuous flow of credit to viable businesses, while putting in place provisions such as moratoriums and restructuring of existing loans under CBN intervention funds, that have been provided to businesses. These measures are intended to cushion the effects of the slowdown in economic activity on businesses, while putting them in better stead to help resuscitate economic activity in the country. “