CEM REPORT | The Central Bank of Nigeria’s involvement in the health sector has come shortly after a 37-intervention schemes, amounting to N4.2 trillion (both executed and outstanding), of which the healthcare intervention programme stands out. While it will serve as a dual purpose in addressing both the health and empowerment challenges, which the World Bank has continuously advised the Federal Government to look into.
The healthcare intervention fund was found within the urge that the Apex Bank is to flood the market with foreign currencies and trigger the exchange rate down for the naira to be at par with the US dollar. However, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has keen on aiming above the realistic approach, while targeting policies with potential to launch Nigeria into the league of the world’s leading economies.
Significantly, the scheme is also projected to encourage domestic manufacturing of critical drugs and vaccines to ensure their sustainable domestic supply and reduce the bulk manufacturing costs of the drugs, herbal medicines and vaccines in Nigeria.
The President and another member, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and Dr. Akin Ofolabi, applauded the CBN healthcare intervention scheme respectively.
“The funds represent a boost to the healthcare manufacturing sector which is fashioned to enhance the wellbeing of Nigerians, boost productivity and enhance employment through expansion on lines.
[READ ALSO] Prices of Food Continues to Rise in Nigeria
“The Emefiele-led CBN has looked beyond the quagmire of worsening exchange rate and moving to ban certain items to save the naira, while the environment remains challenging for manufacturing firms and those who engage in commodity export to boost non-oil revenue. Despite the obvious challenges, the healthcare intervention is highly commendable. It is a wonderful initiative of the bank under Emefiele.”
At the last count, the intervention has financed 110 healthcare projects, of which 23 were pharmaceuticals, 77 hospitals and six other healthcare service projects, valued at N103.02 billion. It has also supported the acquisition and installation of over 45 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs) machines by hospitals; 36 Computed Tomography (CT) scanners; and expansion of production lines in various pharmaceutical companies across the country.
Similarly, the sum of N232.54 million was disbursed to 5 beneficiaries under the CBN Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention (Grant) Scheme (HSRDIS) for the development of testing kits and devices for COVID-19 and Lassa Fever.
The President of, Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi also added that the fund as commendable, noting that the CBN offered pharmaceutical companies and medical practitioners low-interest-rate loans up to N100 billion from March 2020 as an intervention to improve local manufacturing and increase their capacities to combat COVID 19 pandemic and other related health challenges.
Sent in by Andrew Alibor