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Vaccine: CACOVID wants to scuttle purchase of 1m doses – BUA

BUA Group has accused the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) of trying to scuttle its purchase of 1million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine because a prominent member is not happy that it took the initiative to pay.

It said it received with utter shock, reports allegedly attributed CACOVID, disowning its earlier payment for one million AstraZeneca doses for Nigeria via the AFREXIM vaccine platform.

In a statement Monday night, BUA Group disclosed that it decided to pay in order not to lose the opportunity to get the doses next week.

“At the CACOVID steering committee meeting held February 8, 2021 (of which BUA is a member), members were informed by the CBN Governor that CACOVID had been given the opportunity through the Afrexim Platform to access and pay for one million doses, provided payment was made today or tomorrow – failure which the opportunity to get those doses next week may be lost.

“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 rate of US$3.45 per dose totaling US$3,450,000.00 which translates to 1.311billion 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). 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 1million doses of the vaccine next week.

“BUA did this gesture in good faith as it has done with its interventions throughout the pandemic.

“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 Nigerians to access the vaccines.”

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