The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the COVID-19 targeted facility for Small, and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and households from N150bn to N300bn to enable more Nigerians benefit.
It is the third raise in the facility since the start of COVID-19 lockdown.
“The CBN has equally made bold moves to alleviate the plight of households and business owners and drive economic growth during the pandemic,” said CBN governor Godwin Emefiele.
He stated this on Saturday at a seminar for finance correspondents & business editors with the theme “leveraging the digital economy to drive growth, job creation and sustainable development”.
“We created a N150 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) for affected households and small and medium enterprises through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank.
“Already, N149.21 billion has been disbursed to 316,869 beneficiaries.
“Given the resounding success of this program and its positive impact on output growth, we have decided to double this fund to about N300 billion, in order to accommodate many more beneficiaries and boost consumer expenditure which should positively stimulate the economy,” he said.
Recall at the wake of the CIVID-19 lockdown and the attendant impact on households and SMEs, the CBN introduced N50bn targeted credit facility at single digit interest rate and three years moratorium to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The programme was hugely subscribed and the CBN had raised the funds to N100bn and later N150bn.
But because the interest kept rising, the CBN has further raised it to N300bn.
Represented at the event by the CBN Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr. Edward Lamekek Adamu, the CBN governor also said the time is now to leverage the digital space to dive economic growth.
“We must find ways to leverage digital channels in improving access to finance and access to credit for all Nigerians. Consequently, the digital economy will be a key factor towards our efforts at driving growth over the next few years. As we are all aware, the digital economy is made up of various components, including data analytics, robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, e-commerce, e-business, e- infrastructure. It is based on the interconnectedness of people, organizations, and machines that results from the Internet, mobile technology and the Internet of things,” he explained.