The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers Committee have announced a list of local pharmaceutical companies that will be engaged in their intervention programme in a bid to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease. The companies will be given a grant to enable them to procure raw materials and equipment to boost local drug production in Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on Saturday, March 21, during a press briefing in Abuja. In a press statement seen by Nairametrics, the Bankers’ Committee gave its full support to the policy measures amounting to over N3.5 Trillion earlier announced by the CBN in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 on Nigeria.
The chosen ones: Some of the pharmaceutical companies listed by the CBN Governor are May and Baker Plc, Neimeth International Plc, Unique Pharma, Swiss Pharma, Dana Pharma, Orange Drugs, Sagar, GSK, Emzor Pharmaceuticals. Mr Emefiele also mentioned that the list was not exhaustive as more companies could also benefit.
According to Emefiele “the Bankers’ Committee took the decision to support the pharmaceutical companies given the fact that the present pandemic was of grave public health concern, coupled with the fact that many drug-manufacturing countries planned or had already banned the export of drugs and medical supplies from their respective countries, thereby leaving Nigeria no choice but to produce the drugs locally.”
No profit motive: Emefiele also disclosed that engagements will be held with correspondent banks, trade creditors, trading partners regarding existing letters of credit and trade commitments. In a rather altruistic tone, the CBN Governor also said 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.”
In line with his drive for supporting locally made goods and services, the CBN Governor and the Bankers’ Committee advised Nigerians and companies to prioritize their import needs and focus more on sourcing raw materials and input locally.
Emefiele pointed out that in the course of the meeting, the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, called and specifically requested that the CBN and the Bankers Committee pay particular attention to the health sector.
Ahmed assured of Federal Government’s intention from the fiscal side, to provide waivers and incentives to encourage the pharmaceutical industry to come back again alive in Nigeria.