At a meeting in Abuja, the Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Ryuichi Shoji, explained that the loan facility would assist in closing gaps of financial assistance required to achieve zero polio cases in the country.
Speaking about the Japanese Government’s 14 year partnership with the Nigerian Government in the area of polio eradication, he said that the $85 million loan would have preferential interest rate of 0.2% per cent.
“The loan will be utilised for procurement of polio vaccines for children under five years of age,” Mr. Shoji said, adding that this would also have positive impacts on other countries.
“As long as a single child remained infected, children in all countries were at risk of polio”, he said.
Nigeria Country Representative, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mairo Mandara, said that Nigeria’s polio eradication efforts have experienced notable progress owing to the political support it has enjoyed.
Revealing conditions surrounding the loan, she said: “After Nigeria has executed the loan agreement, the foundation will commit to repay the loan to Japan on behalf of Nigeria if the required immunisation coverage rates are met.”
On his part, the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, promised to ensure prompt provision of vaccines to stamp out the scourge.
“The signing of the MOU is an important milestone for the country. It will help us to ensure the availability of vaccines and timely delivery.
“It is my hope that with the loan, polio will be interrupted this year,” Mr. Chukwu said.
$85 million is about 14billion Naira.