COVID-19: CBN, Bankers C’ittee grants forex facilities to local Pharmaceutical firms

By Chika Otuchikere

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee at the weekend rose from an extra-ordinary meeting in Lagos, with a resolve to grant funding facilities (in Naira and foreign exchange) to pharmaceutical companies in the country to enable them procure raw materials and equipment to boost local drug production in Nigeria.

The bankers’ action came as the country continues to record new cases of corona virus, and the need to strengthen the Local pharmaceutical firms to meet local medical demands.

The Bankers’ Committee also gave its full support to the policy measures amounting to over N3.5 trillion earlier announced by the CBN in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 on Nigeria.

The CBN Governor and chairman of the Banker’ Committee, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, read the communique of the meeting and listed the companies to include, but not limited to, Emzor, Fidson, GSK, May & Baker, Unique Pharma, Swiss Pharma, Neimeth, Sagar, Orange Drugs, and Dana Pharma.

According to him, the Bankers’ Committee took the decision to support the pharmaceutical companies given the fact that the present pandemic was of grave public health concern, coupled with the fact that many drug-manufacturing countries planned or had already banned the export of drugs and medical supplies from their respective countries, thereby leaving Nigeria no choice but to produce the drugs locally.

Mr. Emefiele further disclosed that the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee had resolved at this time to collaborate with one coherent strategy to provide confidence to the customers, counter

parties, the public and ultimately putting Nigeria first.

Meanwhile, Mr. Emefiele said the industry had also resolved that profit would not be the primary motive at this time. “Rather, preserving confidence, financial stability and support for the economy will be the overriding objectives,” he added.

Considering the disruptions to global supply chains, the CBN Governor and the Bankers’ Committee advised Nigerians and companies to prioritize their import needs and focus more on sourcing raw materials and input locally.

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