By Kayode Tokede
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, chairman of Dangote Plc, Aliko Dangote and six other philanthropists in the banking, industrial and Oil & gas sectors have setup a funding committee to contribute at least N1billion to the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition against Covid-19.
Other members of the committee are GMD, Access plc, Herbert Wigwe, Chairman, Zenith Bank plc, Jim Ovia; Chairman, United Bank for Africa plc (U BA), Tony Elumelu; GMD, Guaranty Truut Bank plc (GTBank) plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje; Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu and founder of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, Femi Otedola.
The apex, on behalf of the Bankers’ Committee and in partnership with the private sector led by Aliko Dangote Foundation and Access Bank have come together to form the Coalition Against COVID-19.
The Governor, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele at a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday explained that each member of the committee is to ensure that their institution contribute at least N1billion to this effort.
“More members are allowed as long as they are willing to contribute at least N1billion,” he added.
He said steering committee are meat to provide leadership and steer the coalition and committees in procuring all needed funding, equipment and materials for the battle against this pandemic.
“The steering committees will chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha who currently chairs the Federal Government Committee on Covid-19,” he said.
He noted that, operational committee would be responsible for project management, logistics, communication and advocacy.
This committee according to him comprises of CBN Governor, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, GTBank, Stanbic IBTC, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, Unity Bank, Nigerian Breweries Plc.
He explained further that, technical committee would be responsible for gathering data about the equipment and materials needed nationwide.
“They will also be responsible for intellectual leadership around testing issues, treatment protocols, isolation centers, etc. Membership Comprised of NCDC, WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Federal Ministry of Health and select members of the operational and funding committee.
“We will be working with reputable institutions and consultants including the Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Akin Abayomi, Dr Christian Happi, Dr. Phillip Onyebujo,” he explained.
He explained that Nigerian private sector coalition against Covid-19 was created out of the urgent need to combat the unfolding deadly virus crisis in the country.
He expressed that “the rate at which the virus is spreading is unprecedented and it appears we are fighting our most lethal adversary to date.
“So far, the Federal Government has made giant strides in the fight but it is clear that the private sector needs to step in and support efforts already being made.”
He highlighted that the objectives of the Coalition are to, mobilize private sector thought leadership; mobilize private sector resources and classified as confidential.
Others according to him include, increase general public awareness, education and buy-in; Provide direct support to private and public healthcare’s ability to respond to the crisis; Support Government effort.
He explained that “At the end of the process, we shall use have a reputable form of Accountants to render full account of how the funds were utilized as well as account for the materials donated.
“The need for all Nigerians to play a role in this fight cannot be understated as we are quite literally in the fight of our lives. I must highlight the fact that this is not just about bringing money. Your time, your services, your products will all be helpful.
“The committee has already begun work and we will keep you updated of our progress.”
According to him, “As a follow up to the series of engagements and releases from the CBN in response to the impact of the Covid-19 on the Global and Nigeria economy, the CBN has, in the last few days began engaging Nigeria compatriot stakeholders in the private sector on how to provide support to the Federal Government in procuring equipment and materials to combat the menace of this unfortunate pandemic in Nigeria.
“Information gathered so far has revealed that to procure all needed equipment, material, and all infrastructure needed to fight this pandemic, over N120billion need to be raised.
“The Bankers Committee and these important Stakeholders will be required to step up to support this endeavor. We are already engaging other important stakeholders in Nigeria and abroad, such as the NNPC and players in Oil industry.
“An account will be set up at the CBN to receive both Naira and foreign currency from our donors.”