CBN takes plausible steps to reduce the impact of the notorious virus   

16 March 2020 : On Monday, 16th March 2020, CBN governor Godwin Emefiele made an announcement in Abuja stating the 6 policy measure the apex bank would be taking in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The measure are taken to cushion the blow from the deadly impact the virus has on businesses, economy and the financial market.

These measures are:

1) Extension of moratorium on loans

Nigerian banks will be allowed to restructure existing loans (e.g. from 6 months to 12 months) with lower interest rates as well.

2) Interest rate reduction

CBN would be reducing their interest rates from 9% to a mere 5% per annum for 1 year effective March 1st, 2020. The loans are about N3 trillion, which the CBN through banks had provided to the Small and Medium Enterprises sector. The loans were given through the Commercial Credit Guarantee Scheme, and the Anchor Borrowers Programme, and other programmes.

3)Creation of N50 billion fund

In this dire time, this fund will be of much help to SMEs of airlines, hotels, healthcare merchants, etc.

4) Credit support for healthcare sector

They will readily provide loans to pharmaceuticals to expand production or build in Nigeria and to medicare facilities or hospitals, thus supporting and meet the ever-growing demands for healthcare services/products

5) Regulatory forbearance

Banks will be allowed to grant leave or forbear loans (both principal and interest) to agric, oil & gas, and manufacturing clients, but will be done in a transparent manner , while maintaining stability of the financial system.

6) Strengthening of loan-to-deposit rate policy.

To further support industry funding levels to maintain bank's capacity to direct credit to individuals, households, and businesses. The apex bank is urging banks to build capital buffers in order to make the financial sector more resilient.

Reporting for EasyKobo on Monday , 16 March 2020 in Lagos, Nigeria

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