The Federal Government of Nigeria has unveiled plans to build a vaccine plant in Nigeria in collaboration with pharmaceutical giant May & Baker.
Yemi Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the graduation of Senior Executive Course 43 participants of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, in Jos on Saturday said: “Nigeria is in talks with the World Bank’s private lending arm and other lenders to raise about $30m to help finance a vaccine plant – Biovaccines Nigeria Ltd, (with 49 per cent of the company owned by the Nigerian government and the balance held by May & Baker Nigeria Plc), plans to begin construction of the plant in the first quarter of next year.
The president lamented the havoc orchestrated by the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s economy but for the deft policies of the Federal Government.
“Unemployment went up to 33.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020; the transportation sector declined by 49 per cent; the hospitality sector fell 40 per cent; the education sector fell 24 per cent; real estate declined by 22 per cent; trade declined by 17 per cent and construction declined by 40 per cent.
“Nigeria was in a terrible economic situation and in response, the President took two swift steps. One was to set up a small inter-ministerial Committee headed by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, to quickly work out the implications and the immediate mitigation for the economic shocks we were headed for.
“The second thing the President did swiftly was to direct a team of ministers and interagency heads to draw up a 12-month economic emergency plan, which became known as the Economic Sustainability Plan.
“We were clear that the only way of avoiding an economic disaster that could last for years was for the government to essentially put forward a major fiscal stimulus plan. Such a plan must have clear objectives of saving jobs and creating new ones, supporting businesses that may close down, and employees that may not be paid during lockdowns, and, of course, healthcare support to reduce the COVID-19 caseload. So, we promptly put forward a stimulus plan in the order of N2.3 trillion.”