The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it has approved N10bn aggregate loan request by pharmaceuticals and other health care organizations. The Apex Bank had announced N100 billion this year to support the health authorities to ensure laboratories, researchers and innovators work with global scientists to patent and/or produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria to prepare for any major crises ahead.
This in addition to grants the Apex Bank promised to give on breakthrough researches on COVID-19 vaccines.
Recently, the Guild of Medical Directors had accused the CBN Governor of sitting on the requests while putting together a so-called ‘framework’ for such funding. Giving an update on the progress of the health care loan, the CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor said “on the loan component about N10bn worth of applications have already been approved and many more are being processed.” He said “anyone castigating the CBN and the PTF for the grant component is just being mischievous.”
He said that “Grants are guided by procedures and not a free for all. They have to be applied for and processed. There are guidelines which must be followed.There are qualifications for grants and they have to be met, which in this case must include authentication by relevant government agencies such as the Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on the scientific foundation of such research” Mr. Okofafor explained. “Grants may be seen as free, yes they are free, but they are not just handed out to anyone who stretches out their hands. You must have a plan, demonstrable and genuine scientific efforts, intentions and above all you have to apply for them” he stated further.
“I know some persons have an aversion for due process but we do not encourage that at the CBN. I advise those who are interested to follow due process and apply for the grant and stop using the media to ridicule the good intentions of the CBN” he noted. CBN’s COVID-19 interventions in the healthcare sector are in two basic components. One is a loan programme while the other is in the form grants and/or loans for pharmaceutical and healthcare-related research on COVID-19, which was announced just about two weeks ago.
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