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Sec Mnuchin: We need legislation to help Americans back to work

Sec Mnuchin: We need legislation to help Americans back to work



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CNBC Transcript: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” today. Sec Mnuchin discusses the plans to restart coronavirus stimulus talks.

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WHEN: Today, Monday, August 10

WHERE: CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET) today, Monday, August 10. Following are links to video on

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin: A compromise is possible

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: We need legislation that helps Americans get back to work

We’re prepared to put more money on the table: Treasury Sec Steven Mnuchin


Jim Cramer: Mr. Secretary, always good to see you on "Squawk on the street." we get a little bargaining done right on the show. How have you been?

Sec Mnuchin: good morning. How are you?

Cramer: I’m doing fine, thanks. I know you’re not happy about things off the rails because 31 million people in both blue and red states are unemployed. How do we get things restarted and how do we get it that speaker Pelosi doesn’t think that your side gives a damn because I know you do and I know you want to help the most vulnerable people.

Sec Mnuchin: Well, Jim, I think there is a compromise if the democrats are willing to be reasonable there is still a lot of things that we need to do and that we’ve agreed on. Let me just go through a few of them first of all, schools. The president wants to make sure that there is enough money to open schools safely. That’s something that is very important. I think you’ve heard me say the democrats and the heroes bill had 100 billion. We put in 105 billion. I have spoken to many governors over the weekend to understand their direct costs I’ll be getting on a video call this afternoon with all of them and the vice president to talk about schools.

We’ve agreed on more money for ppp for businesses that are particularly hard hit getting a second, a second check we’ve agreed on more direct payments like we sent out last time the democrats wanted money for food, so we compromised on that. We want money for vaccines, hospitals, rental assistance and we’ve given them flexibility and we offered more money for state and local but we’re not going to give $1 trillion to state and local. That’s just not a reasonable approach

Cramer: Right I completely understand that but I guess where I feel that there’s some unrealism is how do we get something for small business right now I know that you are actually the voice for small business in this country. Those are the ones directly in the crosshairs of covid-19 it is certainly not their fault. You spoke from the very beginning about business interruptions insurance. Why can’t we make it retroactive for small business so we can get these places in shape because half the revenue coming in and the costs are the same

Sec mnuchin: Jim, I’m highly confident if we put another ppp bill up for a vote that had second payments for businesses that were down 50% that make sure we had money going for distressed and minority areas I’m highly confident we’d have an overwhelming number of people on both sides of the aisle pass that normally in negotiation what you do is say let’s agree on the things we can agree on and let’s pass legislation so that the american people get the benefit of that whether it’s small business or schools or other things let’s not hold up everything over a few things that we disagree on.

Cramer: Actually, this sounds much more positive than the way I felt this weekend. Let me ask you I know there is a belief that the $600 a week discourages employment but I have to question that isn’t bogus given the fact that you have had incredible job growth in may, june and july just when the checks are going out. Some sort of worry about the constitution and fiscal responsibility because I know these people are not unemployed because of their own fault

Sec Mnuchin: Well, Jim, no question about that and the president wants to get every single person back to work who lost their job as you said, we got a lot of people back to work. The previous plan has worked we need to do more and we want to do more but let me just put this in perspective.

During the financial crisis, we had a $25 top up in the obama administration for federal unemployment we put on the table a $400 top up we thought that was a fair compromise we also put on the table, by the way, 70% wage replacement up to the $600 for people who make more money and we think those are very fair because there wasn’t legislation. The president went forward with executive authority. He wants to make sure those people who are unemployed no fault to their own get paid.

David Faber: Secretary Mnuchin, david faber, specific to that new unemployment benefit or the one replacing the 600. 25% of it is supposed to come from the states and I know some question to whether the states have the wherewithall to provide that $100 from the state and $300 from the fed that 100 coming from the states, what do you say to those who question whether they have the fiscal wherewithall to pull that off?

Sec Mnuchin: the 25% isn’t coming from the states because we’re authorizing them to use money out of the $150 billion we just sent them so in essence all 100% is coming from the federal government. I have from every single state how much money they have left over they have plenty of money. And the answer is we’ve also said in new legislation we’ll top that up. It won’t cost them a dime.

To the extent they use money out of those facilities now when we pass legislation, we’ll make sure they get that money back. And on top of all of that, if there’s some states that really have problems, the president has the ability to waive the 25% entirely so, what we need to do is we need to get legislation passed that helps the american public get back to work

Faber: All right well, specifically, back to your resistance to the trillion dollars that the congress or the house has passed in terms of aid for the states you know, I’ve heard the objections being about, well, we don’t want states aiding their ailing pension fund systems and things like that aren’t there ways to make sure the money is used specifically to help states that are suffering huge budget deficits that are going to face huge layoffs as a result of reducing expenses aren’t there ways to go about spending that trillion to make sure it meets your objections?

Sec Mnuchin: well, let me just be clear. The trillion dollars is just an absurd number.

Faber: Why is it an absurd number? Why is it absurd number, mr secretary?

Sec Mnuchin: again, I have data from the states let me first say that the states have money left from last time I have already given them flexibility and they can use that money for firefighters, policemen, first responders, health care workers so there is no reason they need to lay off those people I have state by state how much money is left. So, there’s plenty of money now and we put more money on the table.

So, you know, certain states had financial issues coming into this because of bad policies I mean, new york keeps on raising their taxes and everybody is going to move out of new york. I saw your segment earl ier about how with people working from home and remote locations, it’s going to be easier for businesses to move their headquarters out of some of these states let me tell you, florida has no problem and, by the way, I just spoke to the Texas --

Faber: But red states like Kentucky have a problem, too. I mean, it’s not just blue states and I know as a native New Yorker it pains you to think about the fiscal strength of your city and not just the blue states or those who have higher taxes, secretary

Sec mnuchin: let me just say I spoke to the governor of Texas over the weekend just as an example, you know, that’s obviously the largest state and based upon our proposal, I think they have more than enough money to cover the deficit. So, look, I understand new york has problems and, you know, I wish they didn’t have financial problems I think that perhaps the state should put in financial control board over the city because the city is really going in the wrong direction. And it reminds me of the ’70s. I want to see new york city succeed.

Faber: When you and I grew up there California is the largest state and may have a $50 billion budget deficit, I believe.

Sec Mnuchin: I don’t believe that is the number for California. That may be a multi-year number, but I don’t think that’s correct.

Cramer: Mr. Secretary, I wanted to talk about something --

Sec Mnuchin: Yes, you are correct. My mistake Texas is the second. So, I apologize for that thanks for fact checking

Cramer: I do love -- makes a mistake and comes out and says it. That’s how we all should be. Something that confuses me, mr. Secretary. You and I are completely in sync about the idea that the small business is really the backbone of the country, as is Mr. Kudlow but when you do a payroll tax deferral what you’re doing is just delaying the inevitable and the people who are most helped are the people who are employed isn’t the problem the 31 million who aren’t employed?

Sec Mnuchin: Jim, you keep on saying 30 million. You’re way too high. We have a lot of people back to work we’re far from the 30 million. But the answer is, we have too many people unemployed so, what we have to do is we have to do a combination of tax cuts and regulatory relief and direct help to, as you said, small businesses they’re 50% of the economy they can hire people back and we need to have stimulus with that. So, the direct checks are a very important part of economic stimulus they go to people who work and people who don’t work and, by the way, people spent that money. You’ve seen that in the retail sales numbers.

And we need to then have a fair unemployment system for the people who can’t get jobs. So, it’s a combination of an overall package. The president’s economic plan worked we had the best economy in the world. This covid terrible disease shut down the economy and now we’ve got to reopen it safely and get people back to work

Cramer: Right I completely agree with that that’s why I’m trying to figure out what is the point of the payroll tax deferral what we need is something that defers small business from having to pay rent they don’t have -- let’s go back we’re in a pandemic. You and I both know. It’s a pandemic. That’s a war against an illness. When we get to where we defeat them in the war, then we are fine until then, everybody needs help who is in trouble.

Let’s say it’s 20 million unemployed if I add up the number of people who got jobs in the last three months. Isn’t that the issue and shouldn’t we give help to everybody or is there some level where you genuinely think we can’t go in other words, some level the constitution can’t allow them. Is there a limit to the country’s borrowing power? If there isn’t, we have to get a bridge to where we have beaten COVID-19.

Sec Mnuchin: Obviously, there is some limit to what we can borrow. We’re not at it now. And the president is determined to spend what we need to spend the $3 trillion we spent, plus a trillion dollars more is about 20% of GDP absolutely historic. We’re prepared to put more money on the table there are things, as I said, that made sense to compromise. We’ve compromised. We’re not stuck at the $1 trillion but we’re not going to go to unlimited amounts of money to do things that don’t make sense.

Cramer: But it’s not unlimited. I mean, I think that’s hyhyperbly Mr. Secretary. 3 trillion, 1 trillion you split it you go to 2 trilion or maybe you go to 1.8 trillion certainly if this is a war, we can’t split hairs. It’s unfortunate.

Sec Mnuchin: Jim, we’re splitting things that make sense to split so, let me be clear. You know, if I had started at zero and they had started at $10 trillion, would that have made sense to do a $5 trillion deal of course not. So, you don’t just split the difference what you do is you go line by line and say let’s agree where we can agree and you’re right on things where we agree but we’re apart on money, we split the difference things like food, I listened to the speaker over the weekend she’s right. We started low on food we realized there was a lot of kids out there that there’s an issue.

So, we agreed on more than enough money for this year and through most of next year on food we didn’t make long-term policy changes in the middle of COVID we did that. We can go down the list and that’s what we’ve done but what we’re not going to do is say where there is really bad policy ideas, we’re not going to just split the difference.

Faber: When are you guys planning on getting back together to talk? Do you have any idea?

Sec Mnuchin: Again, I’m not going to comment on the specifics or the logistics of negotiations because I don’t think that’s helpful. You know, there’s a deal to do if the democrats are reasonable and want to compromise and if their attitude is, you know, we’d rather give you nothing than agree on things, then we’re not going to get a deal. But I heard pelosi over the weekend and Schumer and I think that they’re willing to compromise again, if we can get a fair deal, we’ll do it this week.

But the president needed to take action he’s not going to sit around we left the meeting on friday. Mark Meadows and I reported back to him that we were no where and that’s why he moved forward.

Faber: Well, yeah, no where to somewhere would be good. While I got you, Mr. Secretary something else the markets were certainly focused on is our relationship with China. You have been instrumental in negotiating a potential ban on tiktok in the U.S. and negotiations for a potential buyer of that business can you give us an update on this business. Is Microsoft in position to buy TikTok or another buyer so it stays a viable business here in the United States?

Sec Mnuchin: I’m not going to comment on the specifics of microsoft negotiations or other parties. I’m very proud that congress passed an updated legislation where now we have all the tools we need to use so we have both but it’s perfectly clear that there’s 100% agreement both across republicans and democrats that we can’t have an app like this that’s collecting information on americans of this size and scale so, the president made perfectly clear.

It’s not going to continue to exist in this format and to the extent, there is an appropriate U.S. buyer that can get us comfortable with the security issues going forward that deal will be approved if not, the president has given a deadline and it will be shut down.

Cramer: Mr. Secretary, when Nancy Pelosi said that you’re basically heartless and don’t give a damn. It reached a level that we both agree is really terrible is there any way, the president just tweeted that Schumer/Pelosi wants to make a deal amazing how it all works where they were the last four weeks when they were hardliners and only wanted bailout miney for democrat run states and cities that are failing badly and they know my phone number can we ratchet it back I mean, look, this is a pandemic the country needs to get together how many states have 100,000 cases and 5 million cases in the country.

This is not the time for fancor, the time figure it out for working people in small business. That kind of rhetoric, you’ll make an effort to get that rhetoric to calm down.

Sec Mnuchin: well, Jim, the issue isn’t the rhetoric, the issue is the action so we’ve done four deals with the democrats on coronavirus we passed the U.S. MCA and we got a budget deal. When they’re reasonable, we can get deals done if they’re going to be unreasonable, we’re not going to get a deal done. But what is important is now is the time as we said in the middle of this COVID crisis we need the democrats and republicans to come together we did this previous two times 96-0, 100-0 much more diversity of ideas and we’re not nearly in the same emergency that we were in last time but we still have more work to do and that’s why we need to pass legislation let’s start with education we all agree on education.

I’ve spoken to the governors I know how much money they need. The president will be more than happy to sign a stand alone education bill well, let’s get that done. Let’s not hold up our kids and let’s not hold up our small businesses that need to get back to work. This is not about partisan politics let’s focus on the kids and the jobs

Cramer: well, Mr. Secretary, I know we have to leave, but am I wrong to have any hope here whatsoever I don’t want to be pollyanna I mean, is it just better to say, listen, better luck next time.

Sec Mnuchin: Jim, I don’t speculates if there’s a fair deal to do, we’ll do a fair deal that’s always been our approach. The president wants action that’s his first choice. There’s a fair deal to do, we’ll do it. Again, we’re not the ones who are holding this up. We’re the ones who are saying, let’s pass legislation that we can both agree on.

Cramer: All right, Mr. Secretary. I do hope that something, look, the American people hope that something happens. There’s just too many people unemployed thank you so much for coming on cnbc, though you’re always welcome because I know you represent a person who wants to get the job done. Mr. Secretary mnuchin, thank you so much.

The post Sec Mnuchin: We need legislation to help Americans back to work appeared first on ValueWalk.

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After a near 10% rally this week can the Netflix share price make a comeback?

The Netflix share price rallied by nearly 10% (9.6%) this week after co-CEO Ted Sarandos confirmed the film and television streaming market leader is to…



The Netflix share price rallied by nearly 10% (9.6%) this week after co-CEO Ted Sarandos confirmed the film and television streaming market leader is to introduce a new ad-supported, cheaper subscription. The company also announced it is to lay off another 300 employees, around 4% of its global workforce, in addition to the 150 redundancies last month.

Netflix has been forced into a period of belt-tightening after announcing a 200,000 subscriber-strong net loss over the first quarter of 2022. The U.S. tech giant also ominously forecast expectations for the loss of a further 2 million subscribers over the current quarter that will conclude at the end of this month.

netflix inc

The company has faced increasing sector competition with Paramount+ its latest new rival, joining Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max and a handful of other new streaming platforms jostling for market share. A more competitive environment has combined with a hangover from the subscriber boom Netflix benefitted from over the Covid-19 pandemic and spiralling cost of living crisis.

Despite the strong gains of the past week, Netflix’s share price is still down over 68% for 2022 and 64% in the last 12 months. Stock markets have generally suffered this year with investors switching into risk-off mode in the face of spiralling inflation, rising interest rates, fears of a recession and the geopolitical crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Growth stocks like Netflix whose high valuations were heavily reliant on the value of future revenues have been hit hardest. No recognised member of Wall Street’s Big Tech cabal has escaped punishment this year with even the hugely profitable Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon all seeing their valuations slide by between around 20% and 30%.

But all of those other tech companies have diversified revenue streams, bank profits which dwarf those of Netflix and are sitting on huge cash piles. The more narrowly focused Meta Platforms (Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram) which still relies exclusively on ad revenue generated from online advertising on its social media platforms, has also been hit harder, losing half of its value this year.

But among Wall Street’s established, profitable Big Tech stocks, Netflix has suffered the steepest fall in its valuation. But it is still profitable, even if it has taken on significant debt investing in its original content catalogue. And it is still the international market leader by a distance in a growing content streaming market.


Source: JustWatch

Even if the competition is hotting up, Netflix still offers subscribers by far the biggest and most diversified catalogue of film and television content available on the market. And the overall value of the video content streaming market is also expected to keep growing strongly for the next several years. Even if annual growth is forecast to drop into the high single figures in future years.

revenue growth

Source: Statista

In that context, there are numerous analysts to have been left with the feeling that while the Netflix share price may well have been over-inflated during the pandemic and due a correction, it has been over-sold. Which could make the stock attractive at its current price of $190.85, compared to the record high of $690.31 reached as recently as October last year.

What’s next for the Netflix share price?

As a company, Netflix is faced with a transition period over the next few years. For the past decade, it has been a high growth company with investors focused on subscriber numbers. The recent dip notwithstanding, it has done exceedingly well on that score, attracting around 220 million paying customers globally.

Netflix established its market-leading position by investing heavily in its content catalogue, first by buying up the rights to popular television shows and films and then pouring hundreds of millions into exclusive content. That investment was necessary to establish a market leading position against its historical rivals Amazon Prime, which benefits from the deeper pockets of its parent company, and Hulu in the USA.

Netflix’s investment in its own exclusive content catalogue also helped compensate for the loss of popular shows like The Office, The Simpsons and Friends. When deals for the rights to these shows and many hit films have ended over the past few years their owners have chosen not to resell them to Netflix. Mainly because they planned or had already launched rival streaming services like Disney+ (The Simpsons) and HBO Max (The Office and Friends).

Netflix will continue to show third party content it acquires the rights to. But with the bulk of the most popular legacy television and film shows now available exclusively on competitor platforms launched by or otherwise associated with rights holders, it will rely ever more heavily on its own exclusive content.

That means continued investment, the expected budget for this year is $17 billion, which will put a strain on profitability. But most analysts expect the company to continue to be a major player in the video streaming sector.

Its strategy to invest in localised content produced specifically for international markets has proven a good one. It has strengthened its offering on big international markets like Japan, South Korea, India and Brazil compared to rivals that exclusively offer English-language content produced with an American audience in mind.

The approach has also produced some of Netflix’s biggest hits across international audiences, like the South Korean dystopian thriller Squid Games and the film Parasite, another Korean production that won the 2020 Academy Award for best picture – the first ever ‘made for streaming’ movie to do so.

Netflix is also, like many of its streaming platform rivals, making a push into sport. It has just lost out to Disney-owned ESPN, the current rights holder, in a bid to acquire the F1 rights for the USA. But having made one big move for prestigious sports rights, even if it ultimately failed, it signals a shift in strategy for a company that hasn’t previously shown an interest in competing for sports audiences.

Over the next year or so, Netflix’s share price is likely to be most influenced by the success of its launch of the planned lower-cost ad-supported subscription. It’s a big call that reverses the trend of the last decade away from linear television programming supported by ad revenue in its pursuit of new growth.

It will take Netflix at least a year or two to roll out a new ad-supported platform globally and in the meanwhile, especially if its forecast of losing another 2 million subscribers this quarter turns out to be accurate, the share price could potentially face further pain. But there is also a suspicion that the stock has generally been oversold and will eventually reclaim some of the huge losses of the past several months.

How much of that loss of share price is reclaimed will most probably rely on take-up of the new ad-supported cheaper membership tier. There is huge potential there with the company estimating around 100 million viewers have been accessing the platform via shared passwords. That’s been clamped down on recently and will continue to be because Netflix is determined to monetise those 100 million viewers contributing nothing to its revenues.

If a big enough chunk of them opt for continued access at the cost of watching ads, the company’s revenue growth could quickly return to healthy levels again. And that could see some strong upside for the Netflix share price in the context of its currently deflated level.

The post After a near 10% rally this week can the Netflix share price make a comeback? first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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Aura High Yield SME Fund: Letter to Investors 24 June 2022

The RBA delivered a speech this week indicating faster monetary policy tightening is to come in the near-term with the aim of curbing the rate of inflation….



The RBA delivered a speech this week indicating faster monetary policy tightening is to come in the near-term with the aim of curbing the rate of inflation.

Inflation and Monetary Policy 1,2

This week, RBA Governor Philip Lowe spoke about the department’s monetary policy intervention to tackle inflation in the evolving economic environment. Over the last six months, similar factors have continued to put pressure on food and energy prices – namely the war in Ukraine, foods on the East coast, and Covid lockdowns in China. The ongoing lockdowns in China are causing disruptions in manufacturing and production and supply chains coupled with strong global demand that is unable to be met. These pressures have forced households and businesses to absorb the rising cost of living.

To demonstrate the rise, the RBA reporting this week on Business Conditions and Sentiments saw:

  • Almost a third of all businesses (31 per cent) have difficulty finding suitable staff;
  • Nearly half (46 per cent) of all businesses have experienced increased operating expenses; and
  • More than two in five businesses (41 per cent) face supply chain disruptions, which has remained steady since it peaked in January 2022 (47 per cent).

* The Survey of Business Conditions and Sentiments was not conducted between July 2021 to December 2021 (inclusive)

Inflation is being experienced globally, although Australia remains below that of most other advanced economies sitting at 5.1 per cent. The share of items in the CPI basket with annualised price increases of more than 3 per cent is at the highest level since 1990 as displayed in the graph below.

With additional information on leading indicators now on hand, the RBA has pushed their inflation forecast up from 6 to 7 per cent for the December quarter, due to persistently high petrol and energy prices. After this period, the RBA expects inflation will begin to decline.

We are beginning to see pandemic-related supply side issues resolve, with delivery times shortening slightly and businesses finding alternative solutions for global production and logistic networks. Whilst there is still a way to go in normalising the flow in the supply side and the possibility that further disruptions and setbacks could occur, the global production system is adapting accordingly, which should help alleviate some of the inflationary pressures.

The RBA’s goal is to ensure inflation returns to a 2-3 per cent target range over time, with the view that high inflation causes damage to the economy, reduces people’s purchasing power and devalues people’s savings.

Household Wealth 3

Growth of 1.2 per cent in household wealth, equivalent to $173 billion, was reported in the March quarter. The rise was a result of an increase in housing prices in the March quarter. Prices have started reversing since that read.

Demand for credit also boomed, with a record total demand for credit of $218.8 billion for the March quarter. The rise was driven by private non-financial corporations demanding $153.2 billion, while households and government borrowed $41.9 billion and $17.5 billion respectively. 

We will likely see a significant shift in household wealth and credit demand in next quarter’s report given the rising interest rate environment, depressed household valuations and elevated pricing pressures. 

Portfolio Management Commentary

A lag in leading economic indicators has shifted the RBA’s outlook, with an increase in the expected level of inflation to peak at 7 per cent and rate rises to come harder and faster in the near term. From a portfolio standpoint we are not seeing any degradation in our underlying portfolio and open dialogue with our lenders has us confident in their borrowing base. We are maintaining a close eye on the economic environment to ensure we maintain the performance of our Fund and ensure our lenders are in a position to maintain performance and strive to capitalise off the back of economic shifts.

1 RBA Inflation and Monetary Policy Speech – 21 June 2022

2 RBA Inflation and Monetary Policy Speech – 21 June 2022

3 Australian National Accounts: Finance and Wealth

You can learn more about the Aura High Yield SME Fund here.

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The Sussex researchers who used international collaboration and 3D printing to stem PPE shortages in Nigeria

Researchers at the University of Sussex and their partners in Nigeria used open-source designs and 3D printing to reduce personal protective equipment…



Researchers at the University of Sussex and their partners in Nigeria used open-source designs and 3D printing to reduce personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages for a community in Nigeria during the Covid-19 pandemic – tells a recently published academic paper.

Credit: Please credit Royhaan Folarin, TReND

Researchers at the University of Sussex and their partners in Nigeria used open-source designs and 3D printing to reduce personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages for a community in Nigeria during the Covid-19 pandemic – tells a recently published academic paper.

In their paper in PLOS Biology, Dr Andre Maia Chagas from the University of Sussex, and Dr. Royhaan Folarin from the Olabisi Onabanjo University (Nigeria), explain how their collaboration led to the production of  over 400 pieces of PPE for the local hospital and surrounding community, including those providing essential and frontline services. This included face masks and face shields, at a time when a global shortage meant it was impossible for these to be sourced by traditional companies. 

In their collaboration, they leveraged existing open-source designs detailing how to manufacture approved PPE. This allowed Nigerian researchers to source, build and use a 3D printer and begin producing and distributing protective equipment for the local community to use. Plus, it was affordable.

One 3D printer operator and one assembler produced on average one face shield in 1 hour 30 minutes, costing 1,200 Naira (£2.38) and one mask in 3 hours 3 minutes costing 2,000 Naira (£3.97). In comparison, at the time of the project, commercially available face shields cost at least 5,000 Naira (£9.92) and reusable masks cost 10,000 Naira (£19.84). 

Dr Maia Chagas, Research Bioengineer at the University of Sussex, said: “Through knowledge sharing, collaboration and technology, we were able to help support a community through a global health crisis. 

“I’m really proud of the tangible difference we made at a critical time for this community. As PPE was in such high demand and stocks were low, prices for surgical masks, respirators and surgical gowns hiked, with issues arising around exports and international distribution. 

“We quickly realized that alternative means of producing and distributing PPE were required. Free and open-source hardware (FOSH) and 3D printing quickly became a viable option.

“We hope that our international collaboration during the pandemic will inspire other innovators to use technology and share knowledge to help address societal problems, which were typically reliant on funding or support from government or large research institutions. 

“With open source designs, knowledge sharing and 3D printing, there is a real opportunity for us to start addressing problems from the ground up, and empower local communities and researchers.”

Dr. Royhaan Folarin, a Neuroscientist and lecturer of anatomical sciences at Olabisi Onabanjo University in Nigeria, said: 

“During the pandemic, we saw the successful printing and donation of PPE in the Czech Republic by Prusa Research and it became a goal for me to use the training I had received in previous TReND in Africa workshops to help impact my immediate community in Nigeria.”

The international collaboration came about as a result of the TReND in Africa network, a charity hosted within Sussex which supports scientific capacity building across Africa. 

After initial use, testers provided feedback commending the innovativeness, usefulness and aesthetics of the PPE and, while the team’s 3D printer was not built for large-scale serial manufacturing, they identified the possibilities for several 3D printers to run in parallel, to reduce relative production time. During the pandemic, this was successfully demonstrated by the company Prusa Research, which produced and shipped 200,000 CE certified face shields. 

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