The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is fully ready to fund research on COVID-19 as part of efforts to free Nigeria from the grip of the virus.
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who stated this, also disclosed that the apex bank was partnering government at all levels and the private sector to provide sophisticated health facilities in the country to address other healthcare needs of the people.
He said such intervention had become necessary in view of the widening gap in health service provision due to poor medical facilities across the nation, adding that it was also in response to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emefiele spoke during a condolence visit to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State at the Government House, Asaba, over the deaths of his father and the Majority Leader of the state’s House of Assembly, Mr. Tim Owhefere.
He added: “This is a very difficult time not just in Nigeria but also in the global community where we have seen unprecedented health crises that have devastated the entire world.
“We have decided as the Central Bank to support the efforts of the government; we will do everything possible to ensure that we upgrade the health facilities in the country. I can say with all certainty that in the very near future, Nigerians will begin to see what the Central Bank is going to do to show that we really mean what we are doing.
“No doubt, it is not just about building health facilities, but we have also tried as much as possible to extend various facilities to people that are interested in upgrading the health facilities in Nigeria. We are interested in supporting people who want to build pharmaceutical plants in Nigeria, and that is the reason I never minced words in practically all the Monetary Policy Committee meetings. We read out to the world through the Monetary Policy Committee to help to alleviate the health crisis in Nigeria,’’ Emefiele said.
He lauded Okowa for his giant strides in the development of Delta, especially in the health sector, pledging CBN’s partnership with him in the task of making healthcare affordable and available for residents in the state.
Consoling the governor over the deaths, he said: “Your dad is our father; he has sown great seed not just in our kingdom, but in Ika nation and in Delta State as a whole. The people of Ika nation and Deltans will miss him dearly. We pray that his soul and all the faithful departed rest in peace.
“We also condole with you on the passing of Tim Owhefere, the Majority Leader of State House of Assembly, who was another fine gentleman and good lawmaker.”
Okowa, in his response, commended the CBN for its intervention in the country’s health sector, stating that any funding that would help to reduce the widening gap in the health sector was in the best interest of many families in the country.
He said the apex bank’s policy on upgrade of health facilities and agricultural revolution in the country was a move that would enhance the health of Nigerians and stimulate the nation’s economy.