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CBN disburses N204.3bn COVID-19 intervention fund to 447, 671 beneficiaries

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As at February 12, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through the NIRSAL (Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending) Microfinance Bank, had disbursed N204.3 billion of its Targeted Credit Facility(TCF)- part of the apex bank’s measures aimed at cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and households.


The Director, Development Finance Department at the CBN, Mr. Phillip Yusuf Yila, disclosed this yesterday at the 30th seminar for finance correspondents and Business Editors, which held virtually. Giving a breakdown of disbursements under the facility, Yila disclosed that 389,449 applicants applied and received loans, amounting to N137.3billion under the Household/Employee component of the TCF, while 58, 229 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) applied and got loans amounting to N67.04billion.


This means that a total of N204.3 billion has been disbursed from the facility. He also revealed that a total of N111.6billion had so far been disbursed to 28, 961 beneficiaries under the CBN’s Agribusiness Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS) while a total of 320 beneficiaries have received N3.1billion under the Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI).


In his opening remarks at the event, CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services Directorate, Mr. Edward Adamu, stated that the apex bank decided to double the TCF to about N300 billion, “in order to accommodate many more beneficiaries and boost consumer expenditure, which should positively stimulate the economy”.


He said: “In line with the growing need to go digital, the application process is done online and requires limited paperwork from prospective applicants”.


Speaking on the CBN’s recent decision on cryptocurrency, Emefiele said: “The CBN did not place any new restrictions on the use of cryptocurrency in Nigeria”.


According to him:” Our recent directive only amplified an earlier regulation on the subject of cryptocurrency”.


He noted: “The recent directive became necessary to protect the financial system and the generality of Nigerians from the risks inherent in crypto asset transactions, which have escalated in recent times, with consequences on financial stability and implementation of monetary policy”.


In taking the decision, he stated that the CBN’s, “policy stand does not preclude Nigerians from harnessing the benefits of the underlying technology that support crypto transactions, which is a distributed ledger, commonly referred to as blockchain”.


The governor said: “There are several examples where blockchain technology has been used to facilitate and improve transparency in the settlement of trade transactions”.


As the pace of technological adoption increases, Emefiele said Nigeria, “must find ways to leverage digital channels in improving access to finance and access to credit for all Nigerians”.


Consequently, the digital economy he noted, “will be a key factor towards our efforts at driving growth over the next few years”.

“One of the strongest advantages of technology is that it shrinks time and space and reduces the world as a global village, thereby providing connectivity at the click of a button to anyone anywhere in the world”.


To further drive growth, Nigeria, the CBN Governor pointed out, “needs to build a solid digital economy, by focusing on digital infrastructure (internet connectivity most importantly), digital literacy and skills, digital financial services, digital platforms and digital entrepreneurship and innovation”

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