The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) wednesday announced its decision to increase its intervention to boost local manufacturing and import substitution with the injection of an additional N1 trillion across all critical sectors of the economy.
The move, which is in line with the banking sector regulator’s efforts to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy, came two days after it unveiled a six-point palliative to ameliorate the continued impact of the global pandemic on the country.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said in Abuja that the central bank would meet with the Bankers’ Committee on Saturday to work out the modalities of channeling the funds as well as to ensure easy access by local manufacturers.
Additionally, Emefiele announced a fresh N100 billion loan 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.
Emefiele said an implementation committee to drive the private sector contribution of N1.5 trillion infrastructure funding that will link farming communities to markets as agreed at the recently concluded ‘Going for Growth,’ economic roundtable held in Abuja, last week, would be set up next week.
He said: “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 Research & Department (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 crisis 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.”
Emefiele added that the CBN had set up the Financial Markets Situation Room to monitor global markets and advise an adequate response.
According to him, all banks and other regulated entities in the banking industry have been advised to trigger their business continuity plans to ensure that their staff and families are protected and their operations remain largely undisrupted as well as adhere strictly to the directives, advice, and notices from the Federal Ministry of Health, National Centre for Disease Control and other relevant government agencies on national response measures to COVID-19.
In addition, the banks are “to ensure regular and appropriate sanitisation of their premises and make available in all their locations adequate sanitisation materials; discourage large gatherings of staff and customers; ensure constant communication with and sensitisation of their staff and families on the COVID-19 infection.
“Finally, the CBN will continue to monitor all developments on the COVID-19 infection and design appropriate monetary response to protect the people and economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and indeed turn this adversity into opportunity.”