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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Banker’s Committee on Thursday, said it was forming the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19.

This was disclosed by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, during a press briefing when he explained that the coalition was in partnership with the private sector, led by Aliko Dangote Foundation and Access Bank.

Why it matters: Emefiele said that the Coalition was created out of the urgent need to combat the unfolding coronavirus pandemic in the country. The coalition through its committees are to raise funds, which will be needed to contain the crises, provide the required data and logistics, and project management among others.

The CBN Governor said that the objectives of the coalition were to mobilize the private sector leadership, private sector resources and increase general public awareness.

In his statement, Emefiele stated, “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.”

READ ALSO: COVID–19: Access Bank, Ecobank temporarily shut affected branches

He added that the alliance would, provide direct support to private and public health care’s ability to respond to the crisis and play supportive role to government’s efforts.

Emefiele said that four major Committees had been set up to carry out the various tasks. These committees include the Steering Committee, which is to coordinate, provide leadership and steer the coalition and committees in mobilizing all the needed funding, procuring the equipment and materials needed for the onslaught against the pandemic.

The Steering Committee is to be chaired by Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who also currently chairs the Federal Government Committee on COVID-19.

Emefiele, however, explained that other members of the committee would be announced later. The other committee, which is the Funding Committee have members that include the CBN Governor, Aliko Dangote, Herbert Wigwe, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, Segun Agbaje, Abdulsamad Rabiu and Femi Otedola and are expected to contribute at least N1 billion each.

Emefiele pointed out that the members would be responsible for the initial funding of the effort, adding that more members would be allowed in, as long as they were willing to contribute at least N1billion.

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The Operational Committee would be responsible for project management, logistics, communication and advocacy. The members include Emefiele, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Access Bank, Zenith Bank, GT Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Ecobank, Fidelity Bank, Unity Bank and Nigerian Breweries Plc.

According to the CBN Governor, the last committee which is the Technical Committee would be responsible for gathering data about the equipment and materials needed nationwide for this project. The members of this committee would also be responsible for intellectual leadership around testing issues, treatment protocols, isolation centers, among others.

Emefiele said that the members are the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Federal Ministry of Health and select members of the operational and funding committee.

The committee would be working with reputable institutions and consultants, including the Lagos State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Akin Abayomi, Dr Christian Happi as well as Dr Phillip Onyebujo.

Emefiele also said that the committee would need a lot of money to fight the coronavirus disease. He said, “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. An account will be set up at the Central Bank of Nigeria to receive both Naira and foreign currency from our donors,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Emefiele, who disclosed that they will engage important stakeholders like NNPC and players in oil industry, urged Nigerians to play a role in the fight against the pandemic, adding that the fight requires man-hour time, services and products; not just bringing money.

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