The Coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic is having significant adverse consequences for both the global and the Nigerian economies. It has already led to unprecedented disruptions in global supply chains, the sharp reduction in crude oil prices, turmoil in global stock and financial markets, massive cancellations in sporting, entertainment and business events, the lockdown of large swaths of movements of persons in many countries, and intercontinental travel restrictions across critical air routes in the world. These outcomes have had serious adverse implications for key sectors including but not limited to oil and gas, airlines, manufacturing, trade and consumer markets.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in furtherance of its financial stability mandate is committed to providing support for affected households, businesses, regulated financial institutions, and other stakeholders in order to cushion the adverse economic impact of this pandemic.
Accordingly, the CBN hereby announces the following policy measures:
Extension of Moratorium
All CBN intervention facilities are hereby granted a further moratorium of one year on all principal repayments, effective March 1, 2020. This means that any intervention loan currently under moratorium is hereby granted an additional period of one year. Accordingly, participating financial institutions are hereby directed to provide new amortization schedules for all beneficiaries.
Interest Rate Reduction
Interest rates on all applicable CBN intervention facilities are hereby reduced from 9 to 5 percent per annum for 1 year effective March 1, 2020.
Creation of an N50bn Targeted Credit Facility
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.
Credit Support for Healthcare Industry
To meet the potential increase in demand for healthcare services and products, the CBN hereby opens for its intervention facilities, 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. This is in addition to growing the size of existing interventions to the Agricultural and Manufacturing sectors in Nigeria.
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. 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.
Strengthening of the CBN LDR Policy
In view of the success of the LDR Policy in growing credit to the economy and reducing interest rates, the CBN would further support industry funding levels to maintain DMBs’ capacity to direct credit to individuals, households, and businesses. We will also consider additional incentives to encourage the extension of longer-tenured credit facilities. DMBs are encouraged to continue to build capital buffers in order to improve the resilience of the sector.
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. The CBN shall continue to monitor developments and will issue further updates as may be appropriate.