A leading food and infrastructure conglomerate, BUA, and the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) are at loggerheads over claims by the former that it had purchased one million doses of Covid-19 vaccine for Nigeria.
BUA was alleged to have paid for one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for Nigeria through the AFREXIM Vaccine programme in partnership with CACOVID.
The company also claimed that the one million doses would be delivered next week, pledging to buy additional 5m vaccines through BUA/CACOVID/AFREXIM partnership.
Quoting its founder, Abdul Samad Rabiu, the statement read, “BUA decided to secure these 1million vaccines by paying the full amount for the vaccines today because these vaccines became available only last week through AFREXIM. We expect the vaccines to be delivered within the next 14 days and hope priority will be given to our frontline workers who have committed their lives to managing the pandemic.”
However, CACOVID in a statement Monday night disowned BUA’s contribution of COVID-19 vaccine.
In the statement issued by CACOVID Operations Committee, the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 said it was dismayed to learn of reports alleging that BUA had singlehandedly purchased one million COVID-19 vaccine doses for Nigeria.
According to the CACOVID, Rabiu must have been misquoted because the claims were not factual as CACOVID operates on a collegiate fund contribution model.
Also, it noted that there is no agreement between BUA, CACOVID and Afreximbank.
The statement said at its meeting on Monday, CACOVID leadership agreed to contribute $100 million to procure vaccines for Nigeria, with the one million doses from Afreximbank worth $3.45 million, being the very first tranche.
The vaccines, it further stated, would be delivered to Nigeria and distributed through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).
It said the purchase was only possible through the Federal Government because no individual or company could purchase vaccines directly from any legitimate and recognized manufacturer.
Excerpt from the CACOVID statement read: “At today’s meeting, CACOVID leadership agreed to contribute $100 million to procure vaccines for Nigeria, these 1 million doses from Afreximbank worth $3.45 million, being the very first tranche. CACOVID will purchase vaccines through other credible and subsidized mechanisms such as COVAX.
“The vaccines will be delivered to Nigeria and distributed through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA).
“CACOVID would like the Nigerian public to understand that vaccine purchase is only possible through the Federal Government of Nigeria, and that no individual or company can purchase vaccines directly from any legitimate and recognized manufacturer.”
In a swift reaction Monday night, BUA issued another statement disputing CACOVID’s claim.
The company said it received with utter shock, reports allegedly attributed to CACOVID, disowning its earlier payment through CACOVID for one million AstraZeneca doses for Nigeria via the AFREXIM vaccine platform.
BUA’s statement read: “After extensive deliberations, there was no agreement reached and despite members being offered the opportunity to donate funds towards procuring the doses, none offered. BUA then took it upon itself to offer to pay for the 1million doses at the agreed rate of US$3.45 per dose totalling US$3,450,000,000.00 which translates to 1.31 billion Naira.
“The Chairman of BUA also requested through the CBN governor that the Naira equivalent be paid to the relevant account with CBN and that CBN forward the dollar payment to Afrexim on CACOVID’s behalf.
“This payment was made immediately after the meeting and BUA transferred the money to the CBN (see payment confirmation attached.) in order to meet the deadline. However, with this development by the CACOVID operations committee, we now have just cause to believe that some members of CACOVID were not happy that BUA took this initiative in the interest of Nigeria and to ensure that the deadline was met to receive the 1 million doses of the vaccine next week.
“We will however like to state clearly that we are aware that a prominent member of CACOVID is not happy that BUA took the initiative to pay for the vaccines – fulfilling our pledge just as we said during the meeting. Now they want to scuttle it by this action because they were unable to take the initiative.
“We find this release by CACOVID to be very petty and unbecoming of seemingly serious corporate citizens because it is tantamount to playing politics with the lives of Nigerians. This is no time for politics, it is time for us to come together to help Nigerians and it does not matter who is helping or paying.
“We stand ready to keep supporting and despite this petty action, we have decided to let the money remain in the CACOVID Account with the CBN pending when they are ready to utilize the funds for Nigeria to access the vaccines.”
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