The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has received over 34 applications from institutions and companies requesting a total of N90 billion from its Healthcare Research Grant.
The information was made known by the CBN’s Director of Development Finance, Mr. Yila Yusuf while featuring on ‘The Morning Show’, a breakfast program on ARISE NEWS Channel. 90 percent of the applications were from Nigerian universities he mentioned.
According to him: “As we speak, as of today, we have received over 34 applications asking for N90 billion. What is exciting is that 90 percent of those applications were from our universities.
“So, we are looking at how we can quickly get those proposals to the body of experts, they look at that, and then we can disburse the funds.”
The body of experts inaugurated two weeks ago by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha is led by the Director-General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, and consists of independent specialists and government research institutions.
According to Yila, “Also, we have two independent research experts who are quite versatile in administering these grants. So they will administer the grants and anybody who is eligible can apply.
“The modalities are set out in the guidelines. They will look at the proposals, evaluate them, and recommend to the CBN, and then we would eventually disburse.”
The CBN director said the applications received were from both public and private universities, while some of the manufacturing companies in Nigeria also applied for the grant.
“So, all these would be looked at by the body of experts and they will make recommendations. They have already set to work. You should be seeing some of their communications in the newspapers in the coming days, asking for more clarifications for some proposals they’ve received.
“They’ve tried to streamline the format so that they can easily score them and make submissions for the CBN for approval and eventually disbursement to the successful candidates,” He said.
While reiterating that the CBN has an N100 billion intervention fund for the health sector being accessed at a five percent interest rate. He also mentioned that the CBN has disbursed N13 billion to over 24 manufacturers and healthcare centers.
“Two of them are from brownfield and the remaining are greenfield projects. Most of them have increased the lines of drugs they manufacture,” he said.
When asked if there was a sunset period for the repayment of the fund, he said: “In the next few days, you will see some communication from the body of experts.
We are expecting that all submissions from those who are applying should be before October 30th.
“We set two years and 24 months for us to be able to disburse.”
Speaking about how the intervention in the health sector ties into other healthcare initiatives of the government in relation to COVID-19, he said: “I think it’s a complementary effort. CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele has been worried about the huge outflows we spend on medicals, both medical tourism and the cost of drugs that we purchase, especially from Asia.
“And the numbers are quite staggering. We believe that with adequate research, we can bring down the prices of drugs, especially around herbal medicines, we should be able to do something in that area. So, this is a complementary effort.
“We’ve been working with the fiscal authorities. If you look at the body of experts, a significant part of it is from the fiscal side of the government and they are the ones that are going to be administering these grants.” He concluded.