…SMEs to get maximum of N25m, households N3m
Due to the severe consequences of the epidemic outbreak on livelihoods of Nigerians and business activities across the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled N50 billion targeted credit facility for households and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that are badly affected by the virus.
The apex bank in a circular explained how to access the special intervention facility, so as to mitigate the effects of the declined consumer confidence and slowdown in production.
The circular issued by CBN and signed by its Director, Financial Policy and Regulation, Kevin Amugo, stated guidelines that must be followed by individuals and companies to access the N50 billion targeted credit facility.
The central bank had last week unveiled the fund in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which had led to unprecedented disruptions to global supply chains, the sharp drop in global crude oil prices, turmoil in global stock and financial markets, the lockdown of large swaths movements of persons in many countries, among others.
The apex bank explained that those that can benefit from the fund are households with verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by COVID-19; existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of business activities adversely affected as a result of the pandemic and enterprises with bankable plans to take advantage of opportunities arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the CBN guideline, activities covered under the scheme include agricultural value chain activities; hospitality (accommodation and food services); health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies); and airline service providers.
Others are manufacturing/value addition; trading and any other income-generating activities as may be prescribed by the CBN.
It said “the scheme would be financed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund and the eligible participating financial institution for the Scheme would be NIRSAL Microfinance Bank.”
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The apex bank added that the loan amount would be determined based on the activity, cashflow and industry size of the beneficiary, subject to a maximum of N25 million for SMEs.
It said households can access a maximum of N3 million while working capital would be a maximum of 25 per cent of the average of the previous three years’ annual turnover.
Meanwhile, the CBN has said that it still remains operational despite the current impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the global economy and the stay at home order by the Nigerian Government.
The apex bank in a statement by its Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okarafor, said: “As a responsible public institution and regulator, we have triggered our business continuity plans to ensure that the Bank’s operations remain largely undisrupted at this present time when social distancing has become key to checking the further spread of the virus. We have also directed Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and other financial institutions to do the same”.
The statement clarified that: “The welfare and safety of our staff and their families, and indeed all Nigerians, remain a top priority to us. Consequently, with effect from Wednesday, March 25, 2020, until further notice, the only essential staff of the CBN Head Office and the 37 Branches of the Bank will be expected to report for duty daily. In other words, our staff in non-critical roles have been directed to stay at home and work remotely, when their services are required.
Okorafor further stated that “We have also directed all our staff to follow stipulated guidelines by the Federal Ministry of Health, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other relevant health agencies of government to curb the possible spread of the virus in Nigeria.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the CBN, in line with its mandate of ensuring monetary and price stability, will remain open for business during these trying times.”