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COVID-19: CBN Mandates Banks To Restructure Loan Terms, Slashes Special Interest Rate To 5%

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Godwin Emefiele
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The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN has directed Deposit Money Banks DMB in the country to consider temporary and time-limited restructuring of the tenor and loan terms for businesses and households most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, particularly oil and gas, agriculture, and manufacturing sector.

CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, made the announcement while addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, stating that the interest rate of its intervention programmes has been cut to 5% from 9%.

Emefiele said beneficiaries of its intervention facilities have been granted an additional one-year moratorium on principal repayments effective from March 1, adding that N50 billion credit facility have been created for small and medium-sized businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

He stated, “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.

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

“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 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.”

Emefiele also stated that the apex bank has extended intervention facilities and loans to pharmaceutical companies “intending to expand or open their drug manufacturing plants in Nigeria, as well as to hospital and healthcare practitioners who intend to expand or 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.” He added.

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