Coronavirus: Innoson seeks N4 billion loan to start producing ventilators

Dr. Innocent Ifediaso Chukwuma, Chairman of Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) Innoson Group. [Photo credit: YouTube] 

Innoson Motors has approached the Nigerian government for a loan as it prepares to start producing ventilators and other medical equipment to support the country’s beleaguered public health infrastructure, the company told press on Wednesday.

The company this week asked for N4 billion to help fast-track its production of ventilators and protective gears that may prove critical in Nigeria’s battle to mitigate COVID-19 casualties, Obinna Chukwuma, an executive director at Innoson, told press.

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“We plan to add the loan to our existing financial and technical resources to produce a good number of ventilators within a short period of time,” Mr Chukwuma said. “The time is running out and our available resources cannot be sufficient for what the country would require in critical medical equipment.”

To secure the facility quickly, Innoson has approached the Central Bank of Nigeria, through the presidential task force on coronavirus, and a private bank, officials said.

“We made it a two-way approach with the hope that either would work out quickly for us to start producing these life-saving equipment for the Nigerian population,” Cornel Osigwe, Innoson’s chief spokesperson.

Innoson has built cars locally in Nigeria for more than a decade. The indigenous manufacturer has its sprawling production line in Nnewi, a major trading community in Nigeria’s southeast.

To produce ventilators, an automated equipment that pumps air in and out of the lungs of patients unable to breathe on their own, the company would have to install a separate production line or retrofit its existing factory to manufacture medical equipment rather than cars and trucks.
 
“It is very complex engineering, but if we are able to get the loan we have been pursuing, we can roll out production within 90 days,” Mr Chukwuma said. “Then we can start supplying hundreds of ventilators to medical facilities where they might be needed across the country.”

Isaac Okorafor, chief spokesperson for the CBN, and health minister Osagie Enihare, did not respond to requests for comments.

Innoson’s decision to secure a loan from either the government or one of its bankers came more than a week after the company related that it was ready to produce ventilators and other equipment


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