Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor, CBN

Nigeria requires N120bn to battle COVID-19 ─CBN

* As CBN suspends Forex sales to Bureau De Change operators

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that the country would require about N120billion to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, Thursday, March 26 said this was the outcome of the Nigerian private sector-led coalition against COVID-19.

According to him, the CBN, on behalf of the Bankers’ Committee, and in partnership with the private sector led by Aliko Dangote Foundation and Access Bank have come together to form the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19.

“This Coalition was created out of the urgent need to combat the unfolding COVID-19 crisis in Nigeria.

“The rate at which the virus is spreading is unprecedented and it appears we are fighting our most lethal adversary to date.

“Information gathered so far revealed that to procure all the needed equipment, material, and all infrastructure needed to fight this pandemic, over N120billion need to be raised.

“The Bankers’ Committee and these important stakeholders will be required to step up to support this endeavour.

“We are already engaging other important stakeholders in Nigeria and abroad, such as the NNPC and players in the oil industry.

An account will be set up at the Central Bank of Nigeria to receive both Naira and foreign currency from our donors,” Emefiele said.

A Funding Committee which will be responsible for the initial funding of the effort has membership comprising the CBN Governor, Aliko Dangote, Herbert Wigwe, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, Segun Agbaje, Abdulsamad Rabiu and Femi Otedola.

Each member of the committee is to ensure that their institution contribute at least N1billion to this effort.

ConsumerConnect gathered that more members are allowed as long as they are willing to contribute at least N1billion.

It is recalled that the CBN recently hinted at its plans to provide another N1trillion intervention fund to support key sectors of the economy amidst the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.

This came some days after the apex bank announced a six-point palliative to ameliorate the continued impact of the coronavirus on the nation’s economy and supply chains.

Earlier, the Bankers’ Bank also dropped interest rates on all its intervention funds from 9 percent to 5 percent.

The apex bank had also announced additional N50billion intervention fund to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to mitigate the negative impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the affected enterprises nationwide.

The CBN Governor as well disclosed the strategic measures by the bank to tackle the challenges raised by the virus within the domestic economy, while announcing other interventions to cover healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, oils and gas, among others.

In the meantime, the Central Bank of Nigeria has suspended foreign exchange sales to the Bureau De Change (BDC) operators until further notice.

It was learnt that the Association of Bureau de Change of Nigeria (ABCON) March 24 wrote to the apex bank, recommending a halt in the weekly sales of Forex to the BDCs.

The CBN, in its correspondence dated March 25, 2020, and addressed to the ABCON President notified them of its decision to suspend sales.

The letter states that the suspension follows the government’s directive to restrict gatherings to not more than 20 persons aimed at reducing person-to-person contact and to curb the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

However, a management source said the action became necessary given the sharp drop in demand for Dollars, caused by the impact of the coronavirus on global trade and travels, reports Daily Trust.

“There is no pressure in the foreign exchange market, especially from the sectors serviced by the BDCs to warrant continued sales of exchange rate,” the source said.

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