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NAFDAC Gets Four COVID-19 Potential Remedy

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The Director-General of the National Agency for Food Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye has said her agency has received about four submissions as a potential cure for COVID-19.

The DG explained the submission was made after the agency called for expression of interest for the COVID-19 related medicines from researchers and practitioners.

The NAFDAC DG, who was a guest on a morning television show monitored on Tuesday by The Nation, said the four applications submitted would undergo due diligence.

The DG also said instead of spending huge sums of money to get the COVID organic from Madagascar, such monies should be spent on herbal remedies produced in Nigeria.

Giving an update on the number of applications received so far by the agency, she said: “I made a call for people to submit their application and I believe we have about three or four now and we are going to expedite the processing because it takes a while for us to go through the laboratory testing and what not but I have already given the directive to expedite.

“So, where we are right now is just to make sure that the information submitted is okay and by the end of the week, we may be sending these samples to the lab after we must have gone to inspect the site where the products are made because we don’t want a product that somebody will take and the person will start vomiting.

“So, we will go and inspect the site to make sure that whatever sample we are going to get must have been prepared in an environment that will not make the drug to compromise the health of the user.”

On the criteria that a remedy must meet before it is presented to NAFDAC as a possible cure or drug, she said: “If somebody says he or she has a remedy for COVID, first of all, we want to know the history of the plant or the family the plant belongs to, background information on the botanical characteristics of the plant, we will also want to know whether the plant has been used for anything before because sometimes, we use one plant for several diseases and the usage will be different for a particular disease.

“We will also ask for any written or published document about the plant because the plant may not come from Nigeria and it may be available in other climes. So, we want to ensure that we get enough information and once that application is submitted with the information, then we will start the process and part of the process involves inspecting where the medicinal product was prepared to be sure that it is not going to compromise the health of the people.

Commenting on the Madagascar COVID herbal mixture and the claim that Madagascar asked Nigeria to pay over €170,000 on a drug yet to be validated, she said: “I was made to understand that it has a plant called Artemisia and we have Artemisia in Nigeria which is an anti-malaria plant.

“I believe that it is better for us to spend the money in clinical trials on our own product than to spend that money on COVID Organics. That does not mean that we will not check the safety in NAFDAC. We will do all the due diligence because we do that anyway for any product that is submitted to us.

“We give two-year approval if everything is okay with that product and we will do that with COVID Organic but in terms of a clinical trial, it takes a longer time for a clinical trial because first; you have to have a hospital that its ethics board have to review the protocol that is submitted and once the hospital is okay with the clinical protocol, it has to come to NAFDAC, where we will do our own due diligence in terms of clinical protocol.

“So, it takes a while to get all these through and you have to also look for COVID patient and that is another logistics that may take time. So, that is why it is better for us to use that money to do our own local herbal medicine that may have the same effect.”

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Banks’ CEOs Hold Emergency Meeting Over BDCs’ Forex Ban 

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Bank Chief Executive Officers on Thursday, held an emergency meeting on how to ensure compliance with the new forex directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

After the meeting, they spoke during a webinar organised to give an update on the banks’ preparedness to be the main channel of forex distribution, following the recent discontinuity of forex supply to the BDC operators by the CBN.

The executives assured the public that banks would make forex available to customers in accordance with the CBN’s directives.

After the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had ordered all Deposit Money Banks to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX request for personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, tuition fees, medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

Speaking at the webinar, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said, “The banking industry as a whole was willing and ready to carry out this function. The banks have very strict compliance measures, in terms of verification and making sure that people who do apply are eligible.

“All Nigerian banks will be able to meet these requirements. If you look at all the branches nationwide, you will know that the banks have more than enough capacity to do this.”

He said if the banks saw any compliance issues, or people attempting to do things cunning, they would be reported to the CBN because the banks would ensure full compliance with the order.

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, while speaking on the capacity of the banks to meet the customers demand, said, “It is not only the CBN that has the ability to fund the market; the banks also have the resources to meet the demand, and we have agreed collectively that it will start immediately.”

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Nigeria Needs $2.3tn To Address Infrastructure Deficit, Says FG

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Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said that the country need $2.3tn to address its national integrated infrastructure masterplan.

He said this in Abuja on Thursday at a town hall meeting themed: ‘Nigeria’s infrastructure revolution: Road to a new future’, organised by Business Hallmark.

According to him, the 23-year masterplan (2020-2043) is for the development of infrastructure including roads, railway network and maritime sector.

The event was chaired by a former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress and former governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

Mustapha said, “Conscious of the economic disruption caused by 2016 recession and COVID-19 as well as challenges of previous reforms, the Federal Government revised the 23 year (2020-2043) national integrated infrastructure masterplan that identified critical enablers.

“For the 23-year period, $2.3tn will be required, translating to about $150bn annually and the private sector and other partners have to provide 56 per cent, while Federal Government and state governments will provide 44 per cent of the share of the investment.

“The Federal Government has made important strides towards providing much of our infrastructure and has, in recent years, conducted several infrastructural reforms.

“Specifically, we are extending and upgrading the nation’s railway network and introducing more locomotive couches. The port sector has been converted to landlocked model and terminal.

“Similarly, Public Private Partnership style infrastructure company with an initial seed capital of N1tn envisaging to grow over time to N6tn in assets and capital has been established and will soon commence operation.

“It will be one of the premier finance entities in Africa and will be wholly dedicated to Nigeria’s infrastructure development.

“The reduction in Nigeria’s infrastructural gap will also give the country a competitive advantage under the newly signed Africa Free Continental Area Trade Agreement.”

The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, deplored the water crises in Nigeria saying no community in the country enjoyed water supply always.

He said, “In 1992, 30 per cent of the Nigerian population was enjoying pipe-borne water and as of 2015, it had dropped to seven per cent.

“In 2015, we were at 68 per cent national coverage for access to water and as of today, we are at 70 per cent and maybe by the time the result for 2021 comes out, we might be at 71 per cent to 72 per cent.

“As for water quality, 90 per cent of water consumed, including water from the boreholes, are contaminated and water is the basic necessity of life.”

Oyegun, in his contribution at the event, said six years going, the performance of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had been mixed.

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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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