COVID 19: Opens The Floodgate Of Donation As The CBN Moves To Reboot The Economy

By Stephen Ubanna

There have been a flood gate of donation both within and outside the country to support the Federal government efforts in the fight to curb the spread of the  Coronavirus disease, popular, COVID 19, named after the year it had emerged in the Wuhan Town of the Asian country of China.

Barely two weeks after the United Nations presented three ambulances to the Lagos state government to support the medical  Campaign  to stop the spread of the deadly disease in the state, regarded as the epicenter of the disease,  the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP,  has thrown its weight to support the Nigerian government  with funds and equipment to combat the disease.

The U N, agency  which  had launched  a COVID 19 , basket fund, to assist developing  countries to contain the spread of the deadly disease had not failed on the duty so far. It is not surprising why Nigeria is on the list of the benefitting Countries.

 Edward Kallon, the UN, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator  in Nigeria,  disclosed  that the agency had secured  $2 million, or N7.6 billion , going by the current central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, foreign exchange rate of N380.00 to a dollar, which he had said was   mobilised within the UN  Nigeria to support the government efforts in the fight against the pandemic.

Kallon, confirmed  that the agency  also  presented  a consignment of 50 ventilators and Personal Protective  Equipments, PPE, and other medical supplies which had  arrived  the country through the  Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to the Nigerian government   last Tuesday . The aircraft  that had airlifted the items may have be granted a landing right at the airport  based  on a Special arrangement with the Civil Aviation Authority, CAA.

Peter Obi: Former Vice Presidential Candidate of PDP

  This is because of the shutdown of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport  and  four others in the country  due to the outbreak of the COVID 19, disease  last February in the country . The no flight policy of the government appear to have been made worse with the Presidential lock down of economic activities in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT,  for the initial two weeks period  and which had been extended for another  two weeks by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and Vice Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the  12019 Presidential election had said that the extension was necessary because of the rising cases of victims which the Nigerian Center for Disease Control, NCDC ,had put  as at Thursday, April 16, 2020, at 407 paients, across the country.

Recall that the Cikwe Ihekweazu, led NCDC, had said that there  are  600 suspected COVID 19 cases across  the country which are still being traced  in order to quarantine them to contain further spread of the disease .The rising number of the Coronavirus cases in the country may have also attracted the attention  of APM Ternal, popular, AMPT, one of the major Concessionaires at  Apapa port which handles over 50 percent of the cargoes coming into the country to make a contribution of $200,000 or N76, million to support the government efforts in tackling the disease, which going by the World Health Organisation, WHO, records had  hit over  210 countries . The UN, health agency had reported that 2, 092,031  victims had contacted the disease  while  135, 235 had  died out of the infection .

The  Nigerian billionaire club  may have been forced out of their hiding place to support the government COVID 19 fund ,  when Jack Ma, a Chinese billionaire businessman and founder of Alibaba, donated  medical equipment worth billions of naira to the government to support the fight against COVID 19.

Elumelu: Group Chairman UBA plc

Aliko Dako, President, Dangote Group of Companies who was said  to have mobilised a private sector coalition against the disease was said  to have  made a personal donation of N2 billion, Tony Elumelu, founder Tony Elumelu Foundation , popular, TEF, and Chairman UBA plc, a pan African Bank was also said to have donated N1 billion to the COVID 19 fund. This is in addition to the N5 billion which the pan African Bank had extended to Nigeria and 20 other African countries where it has established presence to contain the spread of the disease.

Abdulsamad Rabiu, founder BUA Group, through the BUA Foundation ,  made a contribution  of N1 billion to the special COVID 19 fund. Rabiu, was said to have also taken a step further to provide additional  equipments  and medical supplies including testing kits and protective  gear  to nine states across the country . Other billionaire donors include Folorunsho Alakija ,Jim Ovia founder of Visafone Communications ltd and Chairman, Zenith Bank, Oba  Otudeko and  Femi Otedola. They were said to have made N1 billion donation each to the fund while Deji Adeleke of Pacific Holdings contributed N500 million to COVID 19  fund

. The Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction  Company, CECC, which  many believe,handles most of the  road projects across the country   including the $10 billion dual gauge rail line  and  which had been working underground  since the outbreak of the disease in the country  to support the government to contain it because of its pecuniary interest was said to have mobbilised other Chinese  Companies operating in the count to donate $1.3million  or N494 million worth of medical equipment  and consumables to  help strengthen the management of the COVID 19 cases in the country.

 This may have informed why Chikwe  Ihekweazu, Director General  NCDC, to beat his chest that the country now has the testing capacity  of 3,000 persons daily. Indeed, the acquisition of the COVID 19 testing equipments may have encouraged Osagie Ehanire, minister of Health at the instance of the Katsina state born Nigerian President to expand the list of patients that could   go for the testing to include  those with fever and respiratory symptoms.

Aware that the post Coronavirus era may be have a telling effect on Small and Medium Scale Industries, SMES,  Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank appears o have prepared have prepared ahead to these category of Companies which is regarded as the engine of growth for a country’s economy. The apex  Bank had made provision for a Credit  relief of  $136.6 million or about N52 billion     to  assist  such businesses that are affected  by the pandemic in order to bounce back to life. Those likely to benefit from the Credit facility,  Emefiele had said  include airline service providers, Hoteliers, Health care merchants among others.

He disclosed that with the support of the  government , the CBN , will soon embark  on a project that could get the banks  private equity firms  to finance home grown  and sustainable health services that will help to reverse medical tourism out of Nigeria by offering long time financing for the entire health care value chain.

The CBN, governor, has moved a step further to promote  the establishment  of INFRACO plc with a combined  debt and equity take-off of N15 trillion  . The  company  is  expected  to  focus  solely  on infrastructure development as the country works towards mitigating  the impact  of COVID- 19 on the economy.  He had  said  that  the  three-year  strategic  response is aimed  at guiding  through  crisis management   and rebooting  of the economy to save it from eminent collapse.     

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