Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The Coalition of Civil Society has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to engage Nigerians through adequate advocacy, lamenting that despite what the Apex bank has done to improve the country’s economy, it has not being heard.

Speaking on Monday in Abuja, at All Civil Society national economic summit organised by Coalition of Civil Societies, the National President, Etuk Bassey Williams, said though the Apex bank has done a lot to ameliorate the economic challenges of Nigerians, they are not heard.

The group further maintained the need for behavioural change among Nigerians toward properly understanding of government policies.

Etuk said that the summit with the theme: ‘Post COVID-19: understanding the economic interventions of CBN and the roles of civil society groups” came at a very time when the country is in dire need of a calm and positive atmosphere to revamp the economy using various interventions of the federal government through the CBN.

‘This effort of the federal government has further demonstrated its willingness to alleviate the sufferings resulting from unemployment and poverty. It is also aimed at the enlightenment of our stakeholders, particularly the youths on the many interventions of the government and how to access them.

‘But we want to recommend to CBN and other agencies of government to get involved in more advocacy programmes using credible Civil Society Groups in reaching the people and explain these policies and benefits more to the people. It is time to build back the Trust.

‘This summit is also an attempt to generate fresh narratives that will help shape the perceptions of Nigerians on the impact and efficacy of several monetary and palliative policies during the lockdown period introduced to address the resultant economic challenges occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic. Considering also our civic responsibility of interfacing between government and the civil populace, it is right that we support viable and proactive intervention policies of government.

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‘Major interventions introduced by the CBN include: Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS), Agri-Business, Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS)), Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF), Credit Support for Health Sector and Creative Industry Financing Initiative, etc.

‘The whole essence of these efforts by the CBN is to create support for businesses in order to avert recession and headship during and post COVID-19 pandemic,’ he said.

Etuk further said most people either are not aware of these interventions or do not know how to access the supports.

‘It is our expectation that at the end of this summit we would have understood the scope and impact of the many intervention policies of the CBN on businesses and households, and also suggest to the government on how to sustain it and make it accessible,’ he said.

In a communique after the summit, the group also called Nigerians to interrogate government actions and policies so as to put them on the right path.

‘There is a need for training civil societies at the national level to help the government inform the citizens of government politics and intervention.

‘There is a need for behavioural change among the citizens toward properly understanding government policies. The civil societies should collaborate to discourage ethnic divide and promote unity,’ the coalition noted in the communique.