Central Bank pushes active public-private synergy to tackle COVID-19

By Helen Oji |   14 May 2020   |   4:15 am  

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has called for active collaboration of the public and private sector to tackle the health and economic crisis bedevilling the country and the world at large.
   
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the nation’s economy is currently exposed to triple shocks of supply, demand and revenue driven primarily by the crash in crude oil prices between January and May.
   
He pointed out that effective private sector collaboration with federal and state governments is needed to preserve the lives of the people and restore economic activity.
 

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Besides, Emefiele challenged Nigerian scientists at home and in Diaspora to develop a vaccine for coronavirus, saying the ability to restore economic growth is dependent on how the nation addresses the health crisis instigated by the pandemic.
   
“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. 
   
“Global growth is expected to contract to three percent in 2020, down from a positive growth rate of 2.9 percent in 2019, which is effectively a 6 percent contraction. 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 per cent drop in crude oil prices between January and May 2020.”
   
According to him, the failure to accurately predict the extent to which the coronavirus could spread, and how long it would last, requires that Nigeria must build sufficient capacity within the health system to contain the spread of the virus, and preserve the lives of vulnerable Nigerians.
 
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Therefore, he challenged indigenous scientists at home and in the Diaspora to develop a Nigerian vaccine for coronavirus, adding that the CBN is developing a framework under which grants and long-term facilities will be provided to researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to develop the Nigerian vaccine.

He said once the vaccine is validated by the health authorities, the CBN will step in and do the needful, saying: “Our objective is to improve the capacity of our health system to address emerging public health challenges.
 
“This requires that we all come together to support the work of the presidential task force in its determination to save lives and stem the pandemic. 

“It is in this regard that I would like to commend the Nigerian private sector, who have come together under the Coalition against COVID-19 (CA-COVID), to support the government, by raising funds to procure needed Isolation Centres, medical equipment among others.
 
“So far, the CA-COVID-19 has raised up to N27billion to fund these initiatives.  These donations are being used to build well equipped isolation centres across the 36 states of the federation,” he added.

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