President of Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has advised that private laboratories should be allowed to run COVID-19 tests alongside government centres.
He said giving approval to qualified private laboratories would reduce the waiting period for suspected COVID-19 cases.
He made this known in a statement to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos State.
"There are currently five government laboratories equipped to handle all the testing in Nigeria.
"However, we have many more quality ones that can do it, but are not yet approved by the government to do so," he said.
The statement also noted that Dangote and the Managing Director, Access Bank Group, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, are spearheading a coalition of private sector organisations to support governments' ongoing efforts at tackling the coronavirus menace.
Giving details of the coalition, Dangote said, "The coalition is working with Lagos State Government to erect fully-equipped medical tents that will serve as training, testing, isolation and treatment centres.
"We are also providing an additional facility on Victoria Island, Lagos.
"In addition, we will be bringing in experts from around the world to provide technical and training support.
"COVID-19 affects us all and threatens our collective health - economic, social, psychological and physical wellbeing; hence, the urgent need to work together to beat this common enemy.
"The task ahead is daunting and bigger than any one organisation.
"To win this battle, it is critical we all come together as one."
He disclosed that work had begun to ensure the facilities were completed in good time to serve the growing need of the population.
The statement said the initiative, which is called the Coalition Against Coronavirus (CACOVID) "will enhance the erection of fully-equipped medical tents to house patients and serve as training, testing, isolation and treatment centres."
CACOVID, led by Dangote Industries Ltd and Access Bank Group in collaboration with Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, MTN, ITB and others, "is tasked with mobilising the private sector through leadership and resources in creating public awareness, and directing support for private and public healthcare institutions."