Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has established a N50-billion facility through the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) microfinance bank for households and small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been particularly hard hit by Covid-19 (Coronavirus), including but not limited to hoteliers, airline service providers, health care merchants, among others. 

Some of the new policy thrusts of the CBN include granting all commercial lenders 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 in the oil and gas, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors. 


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

This is part of the six immediate policy measures the CBN announced on Monday to help combat the impact of the Covid-19 scourge on the economy. 

CBN however slashed interest rates on all its applicable intervention facilities from 9 to 5 percent per annum for one year effective March 1, 2020. 

Announcing these policy measures at an emergency press conference on Monday, Emefiele said the ravaging coronavirus scourge had given impetus for the CBN to provide support for affected households, businesses, regulated financial institutions, and other stakeholders in order to cushion the adverse economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“All CBN intervention facilities are hereby granted a further moratorium of one year on all principal repayments, effective March 1, 2020. This means that any intervention loan currently under moratorium is hereby granted additional period of one year,” Emefiele said. 

“Accordingly, participating financial institutions are hereby directed to provide new amortization schedules for all beneficiaries,” he directed. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has already led to unprecedented disruptions in global supply chains, sharp reduction in crude oil prices, turmoil in global stock and financial markets, widespread cancellations of entertainment and business events, lockdown of large movements of persons in many countries, and intercontinental travel restrictions across critical air routes in the world. 

These outcomes have had serious adverse implications for key sectors, including but not limited to oil and gas, airlines, manufacturing, trade and consumer markets.

MAURICE OGU (@cojmaurice)

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