The CBN is rallying Nigeria’s biggest private sector firms to fund the country’s battle against the coronavirus. The coalition, led by Dangote and Access Bank, will be supporting the current efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the apex bank said on Thursday.
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Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, explained that the group aimed to raise ₦120 billion, which was needed to procure equipment and set up facilities required to deal with the pandemic.
According to him, the members of the coalition’s funding committee include President of the Aliko Dangote Group; Aliko Dangote; Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe; CEO, Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia; GT Bank CEO, Segun Agbaje; Chairman, BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu; and Chairman of Forte Oil, Femi Otedola.
The companies they represent will be contributing at least ₦1 billion to the cause. More companies and their representatives will be permitted to join the group if they are also willing to fund efforts with ₦1 billion or more. Emefiele revealed that they were working to enlist other firms, especially those in the oil and gas sector, to contribute as well.
The funds will be deposited with the CBN, either in naira or as foreign exchange.
Besides the funding committee, a broader group of institutions will be overseeing the logistics, project management and advocacy aspects of the coalition’s efforts. These companies include Access Bank, the Aliko Dangote Foundation, GT Bank, Zenith Bank, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Unity Bank, and Nigerian Breweries.
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Meanwhile, Access Bank and the Aliko Dangote Foundation have said they plan to provide isolation centers with a total capacity of 1,000 across the country. The organizations say they expect the facilities to be ready in a few weeks.
According to them, the medical tents will be fully equipped with the equipment they need to take care of patients. The centers will function as testing centers, as well as isolation and treatment locations for coronavirus patients.
Also on Thursday, Abdulsamad Rabiu, who is chairman of the BUA group, announced a ₦1 billion donation from the BUA Foundation to aid the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in the country. A statement from the company said Rabiu had ordered for test kits, protective gear and other medical supplies. It explained that the equipment would be made available in nine states.
Other corporate organizations to have announced contributions include the UBA, which said it would be giving ₦5 billion to support the government’s fight against coronavirus. Union Bank has also partnered 54 Gene to deploy a $500,000 fund to raise Nigeria’s COVID-19 testing capacity to a thousand daily.
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