The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) on Wednesday announced a N1.1 trillion intervention fund to support critical sectors of the economy.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists.
Emefiele said out of the N1.1 trillion, about N1 trillion would be used to support the local manufacturing sector as well as boost import substitution.
He added that the balance of N100 billion 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.
The Apex bank said the intervention became imperative, following the coronavirus pandemic that had affected the global economy, adding that the N100 billion 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.
According to the statement, CBN 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.
Emefiele stated that details of how these facilities could be accessed would be released soon by the bank.
Given the growing global risks, the Governor said CBN decided to ramp up its response especially due to the dire state of oil revenues which had dropped to about $25 per barrel.
“First, the CBN is directing all Deposit Money Banks to increase their support to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.
“In addition to the N50 billion soft loans to small businesses already announced, the CBN will increase its intervention by another N100 billion 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 N1 trillion across all critical sectors of the economy,” Emefiele said.
He said the CBN management would meet with the Bankers Committee this Saturday at 10am to work out the modalities for the intervention.
The CBN boss also stated that an implementation committee which would work on the private sector contribution of N1.5 trillion infrastructure funding that would link farming communities to markets would be set up next week.
He added that the apex bank had set up the Financial Markets Situation Room to monitor global markets and advise on adequate response to the pandemic, advising 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, adding that banks should discourage large gatherings of staff and customers 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 the adversity into opportunity.
The N1.1 trillion intervention is coming about three days after the apex bank announced a N50 billion facility for Small and Medium Enterprises sector of the economy.
The CBN had on Monday announced initial six-point palliatives to ameliorate the impact of the pandemic on the economy.