By G9ija

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-led Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 has opened naira and dollar accounts for collecting contributions to be used in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group had set a N120 billion target for banks and private sector contributors to help support the Federal Government in tackling the crisis.

The COVID-19 Relief Fund naira account was opened at the CBN with account number -1000014920 while the CBN TSA USD account  number – 0017575300 was opened at the Citibank UK, the correspondent bank.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele had said collections into the accounts will be allowed within two weeks, and that anyone can make contributions into the accounts, but only companies and individuals that contribute at least N1 billion will be in the Funding Committee.

In a statement released yesterday, CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said the Private Sector Coalition will equip medical facilities in six geopolitical zones.

“The world is currently battling a global health crisis as COVID-19 spreads rapidly through many countries. Currently, cases of the virus have been reported among individuals across Nigeria and there is a high risk of the virus spreading through much of the population, if we do not come together to fight this battle. Necessitating, the introduction of the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID),” the statement said.

It disclosed that work had begun in earnest to provide and equip medical facilities in the six geopolitical zones. This will, it added, involve the creation of testing, isolation and treatment centers, and include the provision of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and molecular testing labs.

“We have started with Lagos (1,000 beds), Kano (500 beds), Rivers (210 beds) Abuja (200 beds), Enugu (200 beds) and Borno (200 beds) and expect to be operational within 10 days. The next phase will see locations set up in Katsina, Ogun, Bayelsa, Anambra, Bauchi and Plateau to be ready within three weeks. The remaining states of the Federation will be set up in the last phase within the next five weeks,” the group said.

Also, based on the population of Lagos,  and the fact that it is the epicenter of this crisis, the group will also be creating a permanent structure within the next four to six months.

“Teams have been set up and world-class standards are being employed to aggressively pursue a solution to this pandemic. This is a massive effort and all hands must be on deck, which is why at a time like this, it is critical we come together as one. Hence the need to channel all our efforts through the CACOVID umbrella”.

“We shall provide a weekly update to keep you apprised of how this life- saving initiative is being addressed and a monthly financial update to the contributors. Please continue to follow the health and safety guidelines as mandated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)”.