Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said on Friday in Asaba, that the bank was partnering government at all levels and the private sector to provide sophisticated health facilities in the country to address healthcare needs of the people.
He said that such intervention had become necessary in view of the widening gap in the health service provision due to poor medical facilities across the nation, adding that it was also in response to challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.
Emefiele made this known during a condolence visit to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta at the Government House following the deaths of his father on Jan. 28, 2021 and the Majority Leader of the state’s House of Assembly, Mr Tim Owhefere, who died a day earlier.
He also disclosed that the Monetary Policy Committee was working to sponsor research into pharmaceuticals on different diseases, and would in addition give funds to private sector participants in the health sector to build pharmaceutical plants in the country.
The apex bank’s governor added that the bank was ready to fund research on COVID-19 and in medicine and pharmacy so as to elevate Nigeria, and said “we are determined to do this’’.
“This is a very difficult time not just in Nigeria but also in the global community where we have seen unprecedented health crises that have devastated the entire world.
“We have decided as the Central Bank to support the efforts of the government; we will do everything possible to ensure that we upgrade the health facilities in the country.
“I can say with all certainty that in the very near future, Nigerians will begin to see what the Central Bank is going to do to show that we really mean what we are doing.
“No doubt, it is not just about building health facilities, but we have also tried as much as possible to extend various facilities to people that are interested in upgrading the health facilities in Nigeria.
“We are interested in supporting people who want to build pharmaceutical plants in Nigeria, and that is the reason I never minced words in practically all the Monetary Policy Committee meetings. We read out to the world through the Monetary Policy Committee to help to alleviate the health crisis in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Emefiele lauded Governor Okowa for his giant strides in the development of Delta, especially in the health sector and pledged CBN’s partnership with him in the task of making healthcare affordable and available for residents of the state.
Condoling with the governor, he said “your dad is our father; he has sown great seed not just in our kingdom, but in Ika nation and in Delta State as a whole.
“The people of Ika nation and Deltans will miss him dearly. We pray that his soul and all the faithful departed rest in peace.
“We also condole with you on the passing of Tim Owhefere, the Majority Leader of State House of Assembly, who was another fine gentleman and good lawmaker.’’
In his response, Gov. Okowa commended CBN for its intervention in the country’s health sector, and said that any funding that would help to reduce the widening gap in the health sector was in the best interest of the many families in the country.
He said that the apex bank’s policy on upgrade of health facilities and agricultural revolution in the country was a move that would enhance the health of Nigerians and stimulate the nation’s economy.
According to Okowa, health and agriculture remain the mainstay of any growing economy like Nigeria and CBN’s sponsorship of research in the health sector and provision of funds to upgrade facilities in both public and private hospitals would be a new dawn in healthcare services in the country.
He thanked Emefiele for identifying with his family in this period of grief, and said that they had been consoled by the fact that their late father died in Christ and also made a positive impact in the society.
“As I appreciate you for this condolence visit, I must thank you for the policies you have put forth through the CBN and the most recent is funding agriculture.
“I believe that’s a very strong point that has been made in this country that the CBN can truly help to turn around the agricultural sector for which a lot of success has been made.
“In spite of the fact that the issues of farmers-herders clashes have continued to be a challenge, we know that there has been a lot of growth in the agricultural sector because of the policies made by the CBN.
“We are glad also about the current policy of the bank as it relates to the health sector in terms of improving infrastructure, capacity and research.
“It’s something that we welcome because unfortunately, most of the budgets that we have in this country are usually littered with recurrent expenditure and there is usually little left to respond to the health sector under capital development.
“I believe that the current policies being made by the CBN are such that will help to step in to reduce that gap both in the private sector and also in the public sector,’’ he said.
Okowa expressed hope that in a few years “we will begin to reap the gains of these policies that you have made. So, we thank you, we appreciate you because Nigeria’s health sector is very important.
“The COVID-19 or not, the people will continue to definitely have challenges in the sector and we will need viable places where we can treat people.’’
Emefiele was accompanied on the visit by the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy Directorate of the CBN, Dr Kingsley Obiora.