By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
To facilitate economic recovery and generate employment opportunities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it has disbursed over N3 trillion in intervention loans.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said on Thursday after a meeting of the Banker’s Committee in Abuja, that under the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the apex bank disbursed N948 billion to 4,478,381 smallholder farmers.
According to Emefiele, the farmers cultivated 5.2 million hectares of farmland across the country, and created 12.5 million direct and indirect jobs.
“Under our Targeted Credit Facility, which was meant to help households and businesses that suffered significant losses during the pandemic, we have disbursed N368.79 billion to 778,000 beneficiaries comprising 648,052 households, and about 130,000 SMEs.
“We have also disbursed N1.452 trillion to 337 Large real sector projects in agriculture, manufacturing, services, and mining under our Real Sector Support Facility.
“In healthcare, 122 major healthcare projects have been funded to the tune of N115.36 billion. These healthcare interventions went to 31 pharmaceutical and 91 hospital projects.
“This intervention helped to support acquisition of 59 Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, 42 Computer Tomography (CT) scanners, and 4 Oncology screening machines,” he explained.
The CBN Governor further noted that through the Agric, Small and Medium Enterprise Scheme (AGSMEIS), the bank worked to support small and medium enterprises in the agribusiness sector.
He said: “A total of N134.63 billion has been released to 37,571 SME projects of which 67 percent were directly in agriculture-related projects, 22.5 percent were in services, while the balance were in fashion, IT, and related sub-sectors.
“Under the Nigeria Electricity Stabilization Facility, a total of N229 billion has been disbursed to 9 DisCos to help cover their financial obligations to upstream market participants.
“These interventions have helped to significantly improve liquidity in their ecosystem and increase electricity generation from 4,000 MW in 2020 to over 5,000 MW as of September 2021.
“The Bank has also released N47.83 billion to 10 DisCos under the National Mass Metering Programme for the procurement of 858,026 electricity meters.
“Because of these disbursements, the revenue collection for DisCos increased significantly to over N69 billion as of December 2021.
“It is important that I went through these numbers painstakingly to show that the problems we face in this country do have solutions as long as we work objectively to understand them and dispassionately to solve them.
“It is obvious from the foregoing that the impact of these measures helped the country make the fastest recovery from recession ever recorded and changed the trajectory of inflation to an 8-month downward spiral.”