The Central Bank of Nigeria on Wednesday announced a N1.1tn intervention fund to support critical sectors of the economy.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday said out of the N1.1tn, about N1tn would be used to support the local manufacturing sector as well as boost import substitution.
He added that the balance of N100bn would be used to support the health authorities to ensure laboratories, researchers and innovators work with global scientists to patent and produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria.
Emefiele said the intervention became imperative following the coronavirus pandemic that had affected the global economy, adding that the N100bn would enable the country prepare for any major crisis ahead.
He said given the continuing impact of the disease on global supply chains, the CBN would increase its intervention in boosting the economy.
The governor, according to the statement, also directed all Deposit Money Banks to increase their support to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
Specifically, he said the support from banks should be channeled to support local drug manufacturing, increase bed count in hospitals across Nigeria, fund intensive care as well as in training, laboratory testing, equipment, research and development.
He said details of how these facilities could be accessed would be released soon by the CBN.
Given the growing global risks, Emefiele said the CBN decided to ramp up its response especially due to the dire state of oil revenues which had dropped to about $25 per barrel.
He said, “First, the CBN is directing all Deposit Money Banks to increase their support to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
“In addition to the N50bn soft loans to small businesses already announced, the CBN will increase its intervention by another N100bn in loan this year to support the health authorities.
“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 N1tn across all critical sectors of the economy.”
He said the management of the CBN would meet with the Bankers Committee this Saturday at 10am to work out the modalities for the intervention.
Emefiele also said an implementation committee which would work on the private sector contribution of N1.5tn infrastructure funding that would link farming communities to markets would be set up next week.
He said already, the apex bank had set up the Financial Markets Situation Room to monitor global markets and advise on adequate response to the pandemic.
Emefiele also advised all DMBs and other regulated entities in the banking industry to trigger their business continuity plans to ensure that their staff and families were protected, and their operations remained largely undisrupted.
The apex bank boss also urged banks to 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.
He also urged banks to ensure regular and appropriate sanitisation of their premises and make available in all their locations adequate sanitisation materials.
The CBN governor also urged banks to discourage large gatherings of staff and customers and to ensure constant communication and sensitisation of their staff and families on the COVID-19 infection.
Emefiele also 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 Nigeria and indeed turn this adversity into opportunity.
The N1.1tn intervention is coming about three days when the apex announced a N50bn facility for Small and Medium Enterprises sector of the economy.
The CBN had on Monday announced an initial six-point palliatives to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic on the economy.