…Meets with Bank Chiefs on March 21…
Health sector to get additional N100b loan Boost
ABUJA – Two days after it unveiled a six-point palliative to ameliorate the continuedimpact of the corona virus on the Nigerian economy and supply chains round the globe,the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced its decision to increase itsintervention in boosting local manufacturing and import substitution by another N1trillionacross all critical sectors of the economy. This is in addition to N100 billion in loan in 2020, to support the health authorities toensure laboratories, researchers%and innovators work with global scientists to patentand or produce vaccines and test kits In Nigeria to prepare for any major crises aheadThe CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, stated this in Abuja on Wednesday, March18, 2020, disclosing that the management of the CBN will meet with the Bankers’Committee on Saturday, March 21, 2020, to work out the modalities.
Mr. Emefiele also told newsmen that an Implementation Committee that will action theprivate sector contribution of N1.5trillion Infrastructure funding that will link farmingcommunities to markets as agreed at the recently concluded “Going for Growth”Roundtable last week will be set-up next week.%
Given the plunge in the price of oil, which dropped to $25 per barrel on Wednesday withits attendant low accretion to oil revenue, the CBN Governor directed all Deposit MoneyBanks to increase their support to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries toenhance local drug manufacturing, increased bed count in hospitals across Nigeria, infunding intensive care as well as in training, laboratory testing, equipment and Research& Development. In addition to the N50 billion soft loans to small businesses announced on Monday,March 16, 2020, Emefiele said the CBN would also increase its intervention by anotherN100 billion in loan in 2020, to support the health authorities to ensure laboratories,researchers%and innovators work with global scientists to patent and or producevaccines and test kits In Nigeria to prepare for any major crises ahead.
According to him, the Bank will release details of how the unveiled facilities would beaccessed and released, adding that the CBN had also set-up the Financial MarketsSituation Room to monitor global markets and advise the Bank on adequate response.Meanwhile, Mr. Emefiele has advised all Deposit Money Banks and other regulatedentities in the banking industry to trigger their business continuity plans to ensure thattheir staff and families are protected, and their operations remain largely undisrupted.He further advised the banks to adhere strictly to the directives, advice, and noticesfrom the Federal Ministry of Health, National Centre for Disease Control and otherrelevant government agencies on national response measures to COVID-19. As a way of checking possible spread of the virus, he urged the institutions to ensureregular and appropriate sanitization of their premises and make available in all theirlocations adequate sanitization materials and also to discourage large gatherings ofstaff and customers.While pledging that the CBN will continue to monitor all developments on the COVID -19 infection%and design appropriate Monetary response to protect the people andeconomy of Nigeria, Emefiele urged that Nigerians take advantage of turning whatappeared to be an adversity in the pandemic into an opportunity.