(L-R):Regional Director of UBA, Mr Casmir Molokwu presenting the cheque to Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, at Government House Awka.
Anambra State Government has called on corporate bodies and philanthropists to emulate the noble gesture of United Bank for Africa Plc which hearkened to the call of Governor Willie Obiano to support the Anambra Action Committee on COVID-19 with a donation of N28.5 million to support the fight against the pandemic.
The plea was made by Secretary to the Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, at the presentation of the cheque by UBA at Government House Awka on March 30, 2020.
Chukwulobelu said that donations by corporate bodies like UBA to the government is a welcome development because it has the structure that would ensure adequate and judicious use of the funds to meet already identified needs for successful fight against the Coronvirus pandemic.
In his words: “Last week the Governor made a request to ndi Anambra to assist the state in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The UBA gesture should be emulated by others, donations to private organisations is not the best practice rather the government has identified critical areas of needs. The Technical Committee headed by the Commissioner for Health working to ensure that we are ready and luckily the virus has not entered the state.
“We appeal for support both in material and cash to manage the anticipated health challenges because in such situations the state can hardly meet the demands required to fund the expenditure.”
According to Chukwulobelu, designated Isolation centres like the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, (NAUTH) Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka, and the NYSC Camp Ngbakwu/Umuawulu needs various medical supplies like oxygen concentrates, ventilators, face masks, and Personnel Protection Equipment etc.
So we need all the help we can get to fund the expenses. Mind you all the items we are providing are not Coronavirus specific. If we are lucky to wade through this it can be used for other health needs,” he emphasised.
Elaborating on plans for a stimulus package to ameliorate the effects of likely short-down on ndi Anambra, the Secretary to the Government said that the state is also conscious that once we have complete lockdown, there are people that would be dislocated by the action.
“The state is working through and Economic Team to make provision for such persons. Already, we have over 54,000 households on our list which will definitely increase with the present dislocation. The state is working on providing stimulus package to ensure our state does not collapse under recession.”
In his remarks, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Chief Primus Odili, thanked UBA for coming out to support the ztate in this critical period and also called on others to support the government because this is not the time to politic or operate through separate channels.
He stated that an evaluation of everything about Covid-19 show that it is financially involving. ”We are projecting to procure 3million face masks out of the 7million population in the state. Other safety measures like the closure of markets, businesses e.t.c would require palliatives and all these require money.
On the preparedness of the state, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala, explained “In Anambra State we are still fortunate that we have not recorded any case. The committee is preparing to combat anticipated challenge. We are working on the capacity of the healthcare system with the continuous training of people at the frontlines.
“We are also strengthening the capacity of our 200 Bed Isolation centre to 1000 beds. We need more ventilators, ICU equipment, test kits and Personal Protection equipment. There is no doubt that the financial support will be judiciously used. The donation by UBA is a good thing and shows the beauty of the human spirit when entities like UBA show their CSR prowess.”
Presenting the cheque, Regional Director of UBA, Mr. Casmir Molokwu, said that “we are here today to collaborate with Anambra State Government in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. We are working through the UBA foundation”, and we recognise that the government cannot do it alone. It is in that light that we decided to make this donation. We intend to support as much as we can as time goes on. Also, we are grateful to God that we don’t have a case yet in Anambra.”
Other corporate organizations like M-P Infrastructure donated N5 million while the Obijackson Group donated 4 face masks in support of the Anambra Covid 19.
Others willing to support can make payments through the following banks: Anambra State Covid-19 Support, UBA, Account No:1022752108 and Anambra State Covid-19 Aid Fidelity Account No:5030112159.