The COVID-19 pandemic has brought some of the world’s most sophisticated healthcare systems to their knees; and forced Nigeria to stand face to face with the gross inadequacy of its own. In response to the pandemic, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on 25 March 2020, issued a circular to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and the general public (the Circular) introducing a 10-year scheme1 for credit support for indigenous pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners who intend to build or expand their capacity (the Scheme); to which it enclosed the Guidelines for the Operations of the N 100 Billion Credit Support for the Healthcare Sector (the Guidelines).
The overarching purpose of the Scheme is to alleviate the burden posed by COVID-19 on Nigeria’s healthcare industry and ultimately develop its capacity to respond to the pandemic and the Nation’s healthcare demands in general. In terms of its more specific objectives, the Guidelines enumerate the following, as its top three:
(x) reduction in health tourism to conserve foreign exchange;
(y) provision of long-term, low-cost financing for the development of world-class healthcare infrastructure; and
(z) improvement of access to affordable credit by indigenous pharmaceutical companies to expand their operations and comply with the World Health Organization’s Good Manufacturing Practices (WHO GMP).