Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved N10 billion aggregate loan request by pharmaceuticals and other health care organizations from its earlier announced N100 billion facility to enable the entities produce items to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
The apex bank Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, confirmed that “on the loan component about N10bn worth of applications have already been approved and many more are being processed.”
On the procedures for accessing the loan, he stated: “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 Nigerian Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on the scientific foundation of such research.
“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 added.
In what appears a reaction to those who had complained about what they termed ‘delay’ in the application approval process, Okorafor urged those who are interested to follow due process and apply for the grant and stop using the media to ridicule the good intentions of 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.
Recall that CBN 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 crisis ahead. This is in addition to grants the Apex promised to give on breakthrough researches on Covid-19 vaccines.