Poised by the desire to help improve the health sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed N97.8 billion out of the N100 billion lifeline it approved for the healthcare sector.
The Central Bank Governor had in the face of the ravaging Corona virus which exposed the lack of capacity of the health care sector to tackle the disease rose to the occasion by promising to help in 2020 with N100billion.
The fund according to the bank was committed to 98 healthcare projects across different regions in the country.
Osita Nwanisobi, CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, who disclosed this during an award night organized by the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) in Lagos, said the fund was to strengthen the sector’s capacity to meet the potential increase in demand for healthcare and services.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele was given an award by the PSN for his contributions and support to the Nigeria healthcare industry.
Nwanisobi who received the award on behalf of the governor, said 98 healthcare projects were financed under the scheme, adding that the apex bank is also committed to funding research in healthcare to support the sector.
He said the overall goal of the apex bank is to reduce medical tourism, provide better healthcare for the people and grow the economy.
He said that Emefiele is running a people-centered CBN that strengthens the healthcare sector and supports local businesses. “I want to let you know that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele understands the need to invest in healthcare infrastructure. He knows that a time will come when even with your money, you will not be able to travel to attend to your health. That is while strengthening the local pharmaceutical industry is necessary this time,” he said.
He said the scheme was also expected to increase private and public investment in the healthcare sector, facilitates improvement in healthcare delivery, and reduce medical tourism to enhance foreign exchange conservation.
Nwanisobi further explained that the objective of the scheme was to provide long-term low-cost finance for healthcare development that would lead to the evolvement of world-class healthcare facilities in the country.
He added that the N100 billion healthcare fund was meant to help cushion the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the economy and healthcare providers’ businesses.
It was also meant to ensure that the health sector meets the potential increases in demand for healthcare products and services.
The apex bank said working capital loans shall be considered based 20 percent of the average of three years of the proposed borrower’s turnover, subject to a maximum of N500 million per obligor.
Also, where the loan is a term loan, a maximum limit of N2 billion per obligor and five percent interest rate up till February 2021 shall apply. The interest rate for the facility shall revert back to nine percent as of March 1, 2021.
The apex bank also set the exit date for all the facilities under the scheme at December 31, 2030, and stipulated joint monitoring of financed activities by the CBN and participating financial institutions.
“Term loan shall have a maximum tenor of not more than 10 years with a maximum of one-year moratorium on repayment. In terms of construction, the tenor shall be determined by the completion date,” the guideline stated.
According to the guideline, the eligible participants under the scheme shall include healthcare product manufacturers- pharmaceutical drugs and medical equipment; healthcare service providers: medical facilities- hospitals/clinics, diagnostic centers/ laboratories, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, dialysis centers, blood banks, among others.
Also to benefit are pharmaceutical/medical products and logistic services, and other human healthcare service providers as may be determined by the CBN from time to time.