• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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COVID-19: CBN, Bankers’ Committee to support airlines, media


The Bankers’ Committee on Tuesday unanimously agreed to extend special facilities to Nigerian-registered airlines and the media industry in Nigeria to enable them adequately address the negative impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This agreement came on the prompting of Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Addressing the bank chief executives at the bi-monthly virtual meeting of the Bankers’ Committee on Tuesday, Emefiele urged the banks to do all within their powers to support airlines in the country, noting that such support was critical to helping the industry recover from the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similarly, Emefiele urged the banks to support the efforts of the media industry in Nigeria to cope with the lingering pandemic, in order to avoid massive job losses in the industry.

The CBN, in the advent of the coronavirus in Nigeria, had announced a N1.2 trillion intervention fund to support critical sectors of the economy, N1 trillion of which was to support local manufacturing sector and to boost import substitution. The remaining N100 billion of the intervention fund was to support the health sector in equipping laboratories and enhancing research to produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria.

Also in March, the CBN unveiled guidelines for the implementation of a N100 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) as a stimulus package to support households and micro, small and medium enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday’s move by the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee might just be an answer to the optimism expressed by Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, who said the ministry was hopeful that businesses in Nigeria’s aviation sector would be given opportunity to access palliatives from the CBN.

With support expected for the media in Nigeria, many media houses will be able to weather the storm generated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Emefiele also disclosed plans to meet the chief executives of multinational companies in Nigeria to discuss the revamp of Nigerian exports.

During the meeting of the Bankers’ Committee, Emefiele noted that the CBN was ready to encourage the revamp of Nigeria’s export sector through deliberate policies that would boost investment and job creation.

While decrying the situation where many Nigerian produce of export quality were waiting to be tapped, Emefiele said the CBN, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, would ensure the facilitation of a reboot of the Nigerian export market.

Alluding to President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge for Nigerians to produce what they eat and eat what they produce, the CBN governor reiterated that the country had no choice but to diversify its economic base away from heavy reliance on crude oil.

The meeting is expected to come up with a roadmap on how best to revitalise the export sector in order to earn foreign exchange for the country, as well as generate jobs for millions of Nigerians.

Emefiele had earlier initiated a campaign tagged ‘Produce, Add Value and Export’ (PAVE), especially for the agricultural produce.