The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it had so far disbursed funds in the neighbourhood of N369 billion to manufacturers, small and medium scale enterprises, pharmaceutical firms and other businesses as a buffer against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on economic activities.
Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, detailed the series of support packages made the apex bank in this regard during its address at the 13th Annual Banking and Finance Conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
Among them was the N100 billion target credit facility for households and small and medium enterprises severely hammered by the coronavirus crisis, which was facilitated by NIRSAL Microfinance Bank.
“Initially, we planned for N50bn to be disbursed but we saw that there was more and more need from households and small businesses that were impacted by the pandemic.
“The CBN took the decision to increase the size of that intervention from N50bn to N100bn. To date, close to about N69bn of this fund has been disbursed to over 140,000 households and businesses,” Mr Emefiele said.
He told bankers that there was also a N100 billion intervention fund available for pharmaceutical firms and professionals in the healthcare sector desiring to build capacity of healthcare institutions.
Around 40 pharmaceutical and health-related institutions have been funded with about N45 billion though the programme, the CBN chief said, adding that there was still more of the capital yet to be drawn down.
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He made mention also of a N1 trillion facility, created by the bank, to support manufacturing activities.
“So far, we have about N255bn of this amount that has been disbursed and you would observe that up to around last month, the Purchasing Managers Index has been contracting downwards.
“But as a result of these interventions, following the easing of the lockdown, we have observed that the index has begun a positive trajectory. And we are also calling on manufacturing companies and others to take advantage of this.”
Emefiele expressed doubts regarding the possibility of oil price crossing the $50 per barrel mark this year given the volatility still trailing market stability following the recent oil crash.
“Indeed at some point crude price had dropped below $10/barrel sometime around February/March. Today, crude oil prices have recovered from its low of $19 in April 2020, but it is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels of over $60 in January 2020.
“And we are not hopeful at all that for the rest of 2020 it will go above $50/barrel. If we are lucky, it will hit $50, but we do think that it may just continue along the current level of the $40.”
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