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Coronavirus: CBN Reduces Interest Rate On N3tn Intervention Fund To 5%

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday directed all deposit money banks to restructure loan terms and tenors to households and businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, said the interest rate of its intervention programmes has been cut to 5% from 9%.

“The CBN hereby grants all deposit money banks 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 oil & gas, agriculture, and manufacturing,” he said.

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

The apex bank announced five policies in total.

The CBN said beneficiaries of its intervention facilities have been granted an additional one-year moratorium on principal repayments effective March 1, 2020.

“This means that any intervention loan currently under moratorium is hereby granted an additional period of one year,” Emefiele said.

A moratorium is the delay period which is given before the payment of a loan.

“Interest rates on all applicable CBN intervention facilities are hereby reduced from 9 to 5% per annum for 1 year effective March 1, 2020.”

The apex bank said it has created a N50 billion credit facility for small and medium-sized businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

“The CBN hereby establishes a facility through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank for households and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been
particularly hard hit by Covid-19, including but not limited to hoteliers, airline service providers, health care merchants, etc.”

It has also extended intervention facilities and loans to pharmaceutical companies ” intending to expand/open their drug manufacturing plants in Nigeria, as well as to hospital and healthcare practitioners who intend to expand/build the health facilities to first-class centres”.

“The bank stands ready to provide liquidity backstops as and when required in view of its role as banker to the federal government and lender of last resort.”

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Banks’ CEOs Hold Emergency Meeting Over BDCs’ Forex Ban 

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Bank Chief Executive Officers on Thursday, held an emergency meeting on how to ensure compliance with the new forex directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

After the meeting, they spoke during a webinar organised to give an update on the banks’ preparedness to be the main channel of forex distribution, following the recent discontinuity of forex supply to the BDC operators by the CBN.

The executives assured the public that banks would make forex available to customers in accordance with the CBN’s directives.

After the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had ordered all Deposit Money Banks to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX request for personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, tuition fees, medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

Speaking at the webinar, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, said, “The banking industry as a whole was willing and ready to carry out this function. The banks have very strict compliance measures, in terms of verification and making sure that people who do apply are eligible.

“All Nigerian banks will be able to meet these requirements. If you look at all the branches nationwide, you will know that the banks have more than enough capacity to do this.”

He said if the banks saw any compliance issues, or people attempting to do things cunning, they would be reported to the CBN because the banks would ensure full compliance with the order.

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, while speaking on the capacity of the banks to meet the customers demand, said, “It is not only the CBN that has the ability to fund the market; the banks also have the resources to meet the demand, and we have agreed collectively that it will start immediately.”

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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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Labour Warns FG Against Electricity Tariff Hike 

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The Nigeria Labour Congress faulted plans to allegedly sell the Transmission Company of Nigeria, saying it will lead to an increase in electricity tariff.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said this in a statement titled, “This Kite will not Fly’’ on Friday.

Wabba explained that instead of allegedly planning to sell the transmission company, FG should focus on improving the electricity supply.

He described the attempt to hand over the TCN to a few ‘privileged’ Nigerians as self-serving, obtuse, odious, morally reprehensible and criminal.

The NLC president said, “The TCN is a strategic economic asset of immense national security implications. This is because the TCN traverses all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

“It will be wrong that our country will be deliberately exposed to an avoidable vulnerability and thus, provide an opportunity to others to restrain the Nigerian state.

“We apprehend that the planned sale of the TCN is only an attempt to further confound the people and concurrently raise electricity tariff. Unfortunately, this time around, Nigerians have had enough.

“The government cannot promise improved power supply to consumers by the planned sale of TCN. The under-the-table scheming as transparent privatisation cannot pass muster.

“It is an unsavoury narrative for our country, that even the privatised assets, which have survived the rapacity of the new owners, have been turned into unrealisable collaterals for unpayable loans.

“This constitutes a bone stuck in the throat of financial institutions and sundry creditors.”

Wabba explained that the plan would “fundamentally weaken the security of the nation and above all, deprive the people of their age-old investments in the commanding heights of the Nigerian economy”.

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