By Anayo Ezugwu
THE Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has set-up a Financial Markets Situation Room to monitor global markets, following the outbreak of Coronavirus. Godwin Emefiele, Governor, CBN, said the apex bank would continue to monitor all developments on the COVID-19 infection and design appropriate monetary response to protect the people and economy of the nation and indeed turn this adversity into opportunity.
Emefiele, in a statement on Wednesday, March 18, advised all Deposit Money Banks and other regulated entities in the banking industry to trigger their business continuity plans to ensure that their staff and families are protected, and their operations remain largely undisrupted. He also urged them to adhere strictly to the directives, advice, and notices from the federal ministry of health, the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, and other relevant government agencies on national response measures to COVID-19.
The CBN boss called on the banks to ensure regular and appropriate sanitization of their premises and make available in all their locations adequate sanitization materials; discourage large gatherings of staff and customers, and ensure constant communication with and sensitization of their staff and families on the COVID-19 infection.
Emefiele also used the opportunity to announce N1 trillion intervention to support the critical sectors of the economy. “You will all recall that, last week we hosted The Going for Growth 2.0 Roundtable at the CBN Headquarters in Abuja to consult with critical stakeholders on Nigeria’s Growth projections for the Year 2020 and beyond. During the Roundtable, we considered many scenarios on the impact of COVID-19 disease on the Global and Nigerian Economy.
“On Monday, March 16, 2020, we announced our initial 6-point palliatives to ameliorate the impact of the disease on the economy. Today, given growing global risks we are ramping up our response, especially given the dire state of oil revenues today which attained $25 per barrel and in the near term. First, the CBN is directing all Deposit Money Banks to increase their support to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. In local drug manufacturing, in increased bed count in hospitals across Nigeria, in funding intensive care as well as in training, laboratory testing, equipment and R&D.
“In addition to the N50 billion soft loans to small businesses already announced, the CBN will increase its intervention by another N100 billion in loan this year to support the Health Authorities to ensure laboratories, researchers and innovators work with global scientists to patent and or produce vaccines and test kits In Nigeria to prepare for any major crises ahead. The details of how these facilities can be accessed will be released soon.
“Secondly, given the continuing impact of the disease on global supply chains, the CBN will increase its intervention in boosting local manufacturing and import substitution by another N1 trillion across all critical sectors of the economy. The management of the CBN will meet with the Bankers Committee this Saturday at 10.00 am to work out the modalities.
“Thirdly an Implementation Committee that will action the private sector contribution of N1.5 trillion infrastructure funding that will link farming communities to markets as agreed at the Going for Growth Roundtable last week will be set-up next week,” he said.
– Mar. 20, 2020 @ 15:05 GMT |