Coronavirus:The IMF, Paint A Gloomy Future For Developing Countries As President Buhari Says Response To Apeal For Support Was Encouraging

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By Elizabeth Chukwuma

President Muhammadu  Buhari is a happy man. The Katsina state born Nigerian President source of happiness was the response of Nigerian and corporate Organisations, particular, the banks to the clarion call for  relief  material and financial support w in tackling the Wuhan , Hebei Province, of the Peoples Republic of China coronavirus disease  which had become  pandemic .

From the onset of the outbreak of the deadly sickness and the  index case involving an Italian in the country, the government had made appeal  to wealthy  Nigerians  and Corporate Organisations through a Committee  to support both materially and Financially inckling the sickness.

In doing so, the  government had set up  several  Committees to Coordinate to handle various aspects of the Health crisis  including Fund raising and canvassing for  relief materials to stop the spread of the Contagious sickness.  Going by the report by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, the number of confirmed cases had hit 70, out of the 400,000 people that had had contacted it all over the world with over 15,00 deaths.

Note one of the  Presidential Committees, according to a ministry of Health sources which  has a mandate to raise funds  and material support to contain the spread of the sickness are not leaving anything to chance. The Committee, a source disclosed  had  reached  out to some  well meaning  Nigerians and Corporate Organisations  for help because of the lean financial resources available the government to handle the Health crisis alone .

 Investigations by The Value News shows that the response had been very  encourage as both individuals  and Corporate organistaions s had teamed up with the government in tackling the spread of the global sickness in the country.  

 Going by  the report of the Committee, the President may have come  to understand that Nigerians and indeed,  Corporate Organisations , particular, the Financial Institutions  have  not turned their back on the government  to handle the Health crisis being its Corporate Social Responsibility.  Take for instance, the United Bank For Africa, UBA plc, under the close watch of Kingsley Uzoka,  had  donated  $14 million or  N5 billion, going by the current exchange rate of N380.00 to a United States dollar,  COVID 19 Relief to Nigeria  and other African countries ,  that the bank had an established presence.

There were said to be other donors including individuals . One of them was  Olusegun Obasanjo, a retired Army General and a former President, who on Friday, March 27, 2020,  had donated his former residence  at the Presidential Hilltop, Abeokuta, Ogun state, for use  as an Isolation centre for the victims of the Coronavirus disease. Kehinde Akinyemi,  the Media  Assistant  to the former President said  the 32-room facility  had  been handed  over to the state government  for immediate  possession.

 Another person whose donation of N50 million, had earlier been made public  was   Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019, general elections. His son was  among the victims  of the disease but quarantined in Lagos.

  Dangote Group of Companies, according to the Committee, donated n200 million for the Health cchallenge .  also Femi Otedola, a billionaire businessman  was  said to have responded to the Presidential  appeal for relief material and  financial support to tackle the sickness. Financial Institutions such as  Aceess,  Zenith and Gurantee trust Banks, popular GTB were said to have taken a cue from UBA plc to heed to government appeal for support.

. Access, one of the fastest growing  Commercial  banks in the country, was said to have donated 100 bed ICU to the government  in order to accommodate  the Coronavirus, victims. The donation was said to have been made on behalf of the bank  by  Herbert Wigwe a Chevening Scholar, and the Managing Director, while Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director of GTB, handed over the bank donation of 100 bed ICU  to the Committee while Jim Ovia, the Managing Director of  Zenith Bank  made the bank donation of 100 beds ICU, to help in the accommodation problem of the victims as well. Rabiu of BUA  Group  made the Group was said to have made an undisclosed  donation  to the C19 Fund raising Committee, which close sources said run into millions of naira.

Jim Ovia: Managing Director, Zenith Bank

 Many had expected  First Bank, one of the old generations bank in the country, described as being among the big five to have joined the league of UBA, which had  donated N5 billion  COVID 19 relief to Nigeria and 20 other countries in the African Continent and other banks  in tackling  the spread of the sickness   in the country to make financial and relief materials contribution but it failed to do so.

 It was said to have  partnered  with  Innovative Technology firms and the United Nations, UN,  to provide other services  towards  containing the spread of the sickness in the country. That much was confirmed by the President.  The bank  had partnered with the Innovative Technology Companies  in order to provide    e-learning solutions  at least for one million Children under the” Keep Engaged, keep them Safe Initiative’’, a project, an insider said  runs into millions of naira.

 It is also on records that multi-millionaire, Folorunsho Alakija, donated  relief materials  worth about N100 million, Jack Ma, a Chine  billionare  donated  Medical items  worth billions of naira  to the government to help in tackling the dreaded sickness in the country while  AERO  Contractors, an indigenous Airline , was said to have taken up the full responsibility of making available  its Aircrafts and Pilots  to move the  donated medical materilals  and other items across the country.  This appears to have removed much pressure from the Committee Coordinating the COVID 19 because of its lean financial resources.

It is instructive to that that why developing  countries including Nigeria are looking for financial and relief materials support   from individuals and Corporate Organisations  donor to stem the spread of the sickness , the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, appear to have  put fear on them when it declared “”based on our reassessment  for growth  for 2020 and 2021,  the world economy had entered into recession which requires massive funding to help  the developing nations including Nigeria’’.  

Kristaina Gergieva, Managing  Director , IMF,  who could not hide his feelings  had said  that even if the over 90  countries  that had been affected by the  sickness including China, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom, UK,  and the United States  succeed in containing the virus, and  prevent theliquidity problems from becoming a solvency  issue, there is no hope in sight of economic growth in 2021. This is bad news to the developing country, particular, Nigeria, which  depend on Crude Oil sales as its major source of revenue. The IMF  Managing Director may be right as Oil price had dropped to about $30 per barrel in the International Oil market. There are fears that it  might drop further as the International Shipping Companies  not coming to the Oil producing countries to lift the cargo as a result of the Corobavirus disease and there is nothing the Oil Cartel, the Organisation of the Oil Exporting Countries, OPEC, could do about it. ‘’It is a already a bad case’’, a World Bank official said.

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