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CBN pledges support for health sector to tackle covid-19

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Emefiele

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said that the apex bank is committed to fully intervene in the health sector following the outbreak of Coronavirus in Nigeria.

The apex bank made this known yesterday at a consultative round table with stakeholders in Abuja.

Emefiele explained that the CBN had decided to support the government by helping to develop specialist hospitals across the country.

He said the bank’s intervention would be in the areas of diagnosis and surgery, pointing out that this would reduce medical tourism.

“Giving the impact of coronavirus, I heard that some countries are trying to ban export of some pharmaceutical products; we must look inward at this time. CBN is also working to support the pharmacy and pharmacology industry,” he said.

Responding to why Nigerians do not patronise made in Nigeria sanitisers, Emefiele said the public, owners of patent outlets and pharmacies should buy such products from local producers.

He said the apex bank would soon add sanitisers to the lists of products on foreign exchange restriction.

He said the country must take advantage of this development in ensuring diversification of economy driven by the present administration.

According to him, the situation where the country’s 80 per cent Foreign Exchange earning is from oil as well as such product constitutes 60 per cent of government’s revenue makes the country’s economy to feel the impact of the coronavirus.

He said relying on crude oil since in 1970’s had become a problem for the country. Hence, something must be done to change the trend.

Emefiele disclosed that the findings that would be generated from the round table discussion would be immediately presented to the President at the end of the event.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his emphasis on diversification of the economy.

In his contribution, President of Dangote Industry, Aliko Dangote, said the crash in crude oil prices was a good opportunity for Nigeria to get serious with economy diversification drive.

He listed agriculture and manufacturing as the two best ways to diversify economy.

He, however, noted that to achieve inclusive growth, there must either be backward integration or import substitution.

Dangote said: “To an extent, our economy is great because we have a good local market but we need to improve on our exports. It is disturbing that as a country, we cannot produce what we consume only in 2019, our exports was about $42 billion, which is not sustainable and we cannot continue like this. To have a population of 200 million and grow  at 2.7 per cent is not sustainable.”


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