CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced six initial policy responses to combat the impact of the Covid-19 scourge on the Nigerian economy.

The measures are: Extension of moratorium on loans, interest rate reduction, creation of N50bn fund, credit support for healthcare sector, regulatory forbearance and strengthening of Loan to Deposit Rate policy.

This was disclosed by the Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele on Monday. He was addressing journalists at a press briefing in Abuja.

“The CBN hereby grants all deposit money banks leave to consider temporary and time-limited restructuring of the tenor and loan terms for businesses and households most affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 particularly oil & gas, agriculture, and manufacturing,”

“The CBN would work closely with DMBs to ensure that the use of this forbearance is targeted, transparent and temporary, whilst maintaining individual DMB’s financial strength and overall financial stability of the system,” he said.

Emefiele also said that the interest rate of its intervention programmes had been cut down from 9% to 5%.

He said that beneficiaries of its intervention facilities have been granted an additional one-year moratorium on principal repayments effective March 1, 2020.

“This means that any intervention loan currently under moratorium is hereby granted an additional period of one year.”

“Interest rates on all applicable CBN intervention facilities are hereby reduced from 9 to 5% per annum for 1 year effective March 1, 2020.”

The CBN also announced the creation of N50 billion credit facility for small and medium-sized businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

“The CBN hereby establishes a facility through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank for households and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been particularly hard hit by Covid-19, including but not limited to hoteliers, airline service providers, health care merchants, etc.”