The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is developing a framework under which grants and long term facilities will be provided to researchers, science institutions and biotechnology firms to develop COVID-19 Vaccine.
The Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele disclosed this at the unveiling of the THISDAY Dome Testing, Tracing and Treatment Centre, Abuja on Tuesday.
Emefiele said if Nigeria was to wait for foreign countries to develop their own vaccines, it would be the last in the queue to receive curative remedies for the teeming population.
“The CBN today challenges Nigerian scientists at home and in the diaspora to go back to their laboratories and develop a Nigerian vaccine.
“Once validated by the Health Authorities, the CBN will step in and do the needful for the sake of over 200 million Nigerians now confronted by COVID-19.
“Our inability to accurately predict the extent to which the coronavirus could spread, and how long it would last, requires that we build sufficient capacity within our health system in order to contain the spread of the virus, state by state, city by city and preserve the lives of vulnerable Nigerians.
“This requires that we all come together to support the work of the Presidential Task Force in its determination to save lives and stem the pandemic,” he said.
He, however, commended the Nigerian private sector, who had come together under the Coalition against COVID-19 (CA-COVID) to support the government, by raising funds to provide needed Isolation Centres, medical equipment among others.
He disclosed that so far, the CA-COVlD-19 had raised up to N27 Billion to fund these initiatives, adding that these donations were being used to build well equipped isolation centres across the 36 states of the federation.
According to him, the Testing, Tracing and Treatment Centre being inaugurated represents a part of the support being provided by the CA- COVID alliance.
He noted that these measures would result in the addition to over 4,000 hospital beds across the country and would also serve as a significant boost towards the efforts at containing the spread of COVlD-19.
Emefiele said CACOVID had so far equipped and handed over Isolation Centres in Rivers, Enugu, Kwara, Ondo, and Borno States.
He said it was expected that all other isolation centres would be handed over in other states of the country by May 23, 2020.