Nigeria needs $330 million for COVID-19 battle

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari attends the fifty-sixth ordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States in Abuja on December 21, 2019. (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP) (Photo by KOLA SULAIMON/AFP via Getty Images)

Nigeria has appealed to private companies to make voluntary contributions toward the 120 billion naira ($330 million) that the government says it needs to fight the coronavirus epidemic.

“So far, the federal government has made giant strides in the fight but it is clear that the private sector needs to step in and support efforts already being made,” Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said.

The crash in oil prices, which have fallen by nearly two thirds this year due in large part to a coronavirus-induced demand collapse, has seriously battered Nigeria’s finances.

Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed this week pledged 6.5 billion naira to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and a further 10 billion naira for Lagos state, which has the bulk of the nation’s confirmed cases.

“To procure all needed equipment, material, and all infrastructure needed to fight this pandemic, over N120b need to be raised,” Emefiele said.

He has launched a coalition to do so led by the Aliko Dangote Foundation and Access Bank. It is already engaging state oil company NNPC and other oil sector players to raise funds.