COVID-19: CBN, Bankers’s Committee to support 12 local pharmaceutical coys to produce drugs in Nigeria

Central Bank of Nigeria and the Bankers Committee have identified twelve Nigeria based pharmaceutical companies to that will be supported to produce local drugs and other medial needs to tackle the dreaded COVID-19. The Committee reached the consensus at a meeting presided over by the CBN Governor Mr. Godwin Emefiele. A communiques issued after the meeting named the companies as Emzor, Fidson, GSK, May & Baker, Unique Pharma,  Swiss​Pharma,​Neimeth,​Sagar,​Orange Drugs, Dana Pharma. The statement said “given that this crisis is first and foremost a public health crisis, we are paying particular attention to our health industry. As aforementioned, global supply chains have been disrupted including dominant drug supply channels from China and India. In fact, many countries have or are planning to ban export of drugs and medical supplies from their countries. Clearly, we have no choice but to produce these items locally.

“Thus the Committee has identified a few key local pharmaceutical companies who shall be granted Naira and FX funding facilities to support procurement of raw materials and equipment required to exponentially increase local drug production in Nigeria. These include but are not limited to Emzor, Fidson, GSK, May & Baker, Unique Pharma,  Swiss​Pharma,​ Neimeth,​Sagar,​Orange Drugs, Dana Pharma, etc. The Committee discussed the significant health and economic crisis caused by the novel Corona virus (COVID-19) which has resulted in escalating worldwide infections, deaths, disruptions in global supply chains, travel restrictions and turmoil in the international financial markets. It further noted the policy responses across governments and central banks around the world including the CBN.

“ It was resolved that the CBN and banking industry will collaborate at this critical moment – with one coherent strategy to provide confidence to  the  customers, counter parties, the public and most importantly, put Nigeria first. The industry has learnt lessons from previous crisis including the 2008 global financial crisis and the oil price slump of 2016, which will be applicable and position the industry to better deal with this crisis.  The industry resolved that profit will not be the primary motive at this time. Rather, preserving confidence, financial stability and support for the economy will be the overriding objectives. Engagements will be held with correspondent banks, trade  creditors, trading partners regarding existing LC and trade commitments.  The  industry is committed​ to resolving​ these commitments in a comprehensive and orderly way. There will be transparent and open communication with all counter parties. In view of the significant disruption of the global supply chains, the bankers committee advises Nigerians and companies to begin prioritising their import needs and focus more on sourcing raw materials and inputs locally.

 “The bankers committee noted the success of the CBN’s 43 items policy and encouraged it to strengthen it and other measures targeted at export  promotion  and/or import substitution to position Nigeria as a key global producer and build a self-sufficient economy. The Committee further discussed the financial system’s implementation and operationalisation of the policy measures earlier announced by the CBN including: Additional moratorium of 1 year on CBN intervention facilities Interest rate reduction on intervention facilities from 9% to 5%; Creation of N50 billion targeted credit facility for affected households & SMEs. 

Granting Regulatory forbearance to banks to restructure terms of facilities in affected sectors, Strengthening the LOR policy, which is encouraging significant extra lending from banks. Improving FX supply to the CBN by directing all oil companies (international and domestic) and all related companies (oil service) to sell FX to CBN and no longer NNPC. Activation of the N1.5 trillion lnfraCo Project for building critical infrastructure; Additional​N100b​intervention; healthcare loans to pharmaceutical companies, healthcare  practitioners intending to expand/build capacity; N1 trillion in loans to boost local manufacturing and production across critical sectors: The combination of these measures amounts to over N3.5 trillion in stimulus to the Nigerian economy to ameliorate the  pains arising from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis”.

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