From Uche Usim, Abuja

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, yesterday disclosed that the synchronised efforts by monetary and fiscal authorities to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the disbursement of N2 trillion as of January this year. 

Emefiele made the disclosure at the end of the first Monetary Policy Committee meeting of this year.

He revealed that N192.64 billion had been disbursed to 426,016 beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) meant for household and small businesses. 

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“We have also disbursed N106.96 billion to 27,956 beneficiaries under the Agri-Business Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), while in the Health Care Support Intervention Facility, we have disbursed N72.96 billion to 73 project that comprise 26 pharmaceutical projects and 47 hospitals and health care services project in the country. To support the provision of employment opportunities for the Nigerian youth, the Central Bank of Nigeria also provided financial support through the Creative Industry Financing Initiative and Nigerian Youth Investment Fund amounting to N3.12 billion with 320 beneficiaries and N268 million with 395 beneficiaries, respectively. On enhancing power supply, the bank has so far, provided N18.58 billion for the procurement of 347,853 electricity reading meters  to Discos in support of the National Mass Metering Programme,” the CBN governor said.

Emefiele noted that, under the  Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), N554.63 billion had been disbursed to 2,849,490 beneficiaries since the inception of the programme, of which N61.02 billion was allocated to 359,370 dry season farmers.

On the external reserves position, the committee said  the increase in the level of external reserves, which stood at $36.23 billion as at  January 21, 2021 compared with $34.94 billion at the end of November 2020. This reflected improvements in crude oil prices, partial global economic recovery amid optimism over the discovery and distributions of COVID-19 vaccines by most developed economies.

On efforts to stabilise food prices, Emefiele said that the bank had detected the unhealthy activities of private commodities exchange, a development that necessitates the repositioning of the  Nigeria commodity exchange.