CBN, Banks Plan Stimulus for Airlines, Media

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers Committee have agreed to support the airlines and the media industry to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from the CBN said this was agreed at the Bankers’ Committee virtual meeting, although the CBN has not disclosed how much it intends to invest in the industry.

Addressing bank’s chief executives at the bi-monthly virtual meeting of the Bankers’ Committee on Tuesday, Mr. Emefiele urged the banks to do all within their powers to support airlines in the country, noting that such support was critical to helping the industry recover from the economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Similarly, Mr. Emefiele urged the banks to support the efforts of the media industry in Nigeria to cope with the lingering pandemic, in order to avoid massive job losses in the industry.

It will be recalled that the CBN, in the advent of the coronavirus in Nigeria, announced a N1.2 trillion intervention funds to support critical sectors of the economy, N1 trillion of which was to support local manufacturing sector and to boost import substitution.

The remaining N100 billion of the intervention fund was to support the health sector in equipping laboratories and enhancing research to produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria.

The bank, also in March 2020, unveiled guidelines for the implementation of a N100 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) as a stimulus package to support households and micro, small and medium enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With support expected for the media in Nigeria, many media houses will be able to weather the storm generated by the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, the CBN also directed all banks to submit the names, addresses and Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) of exporters that have defaulted in repatriating their exports proceeds, for further action.

The CBN had in the past warned exporters against diverting foreign exchange from the export proceeds, instead of repatriating same home.

The bank, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, had threatened heavy sanctions against exporters who failed to repatriate foreign exchange proceeds from their international business.

The CBN stressed that its Foreign Exchange Manual provided that all exporters should repatriate export proceeds back to the country to support the local currency and boost the economy.

Mr. Emefiele also disclosed plans to meet chief executives of multinational companies in Nigeria, to discuss the revamp of Nigerian exports.

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While decrying the situation where many Nigerian produce of export quality were waiting to be tapped, Emefiele said the CBN, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, would ensure the facilitation of a reboot of the Nigerian export market.

Alluding to President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge for Nigerians to produce what they eat and eat what they produce, he said the country had no choice but to diversify its economic base to end the reliance on crude oil.

The meeting is expected to come up with a roadmap on how best to revitalise the export sector in order to earn foreign exchange for the country as well as generate jobs for Nigerians.

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