By Emma Ujah
The far-reaching interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in various sectors saved the Nation’s economy from a deep post-COVID economic crisis.
The Governor of the apex bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this in his Keynote Address, at the 31st Seminar for Finance Correspondents & Business Editors, which opened, yesterday, in Enugu, Enugu State capital .
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the CBN, Mr. Emefiele said, introduced and implemented a suite of measures aimed at reducing the risk to financial stability, boosting demand and economic growth, ameliorating the impact of the pandemic on some sectors, such as the Oil & Gas, Manufacturing, Agriculture, pharmaceutical and hospitality sectors.
He stated: “Key among the measures taken were the approval of regulatory forbearance to banks to restructure their loans to severely affected sectors; provision of liquidity support to banks; provision of the COVID19 Targeted Credit Facilities (TCF) disbursed to individuals and households through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, several CBN intervention funds targeted at the real sector, and the mobilization of the private sector to contribute to the National response under the CACOVID Initiative.
“Other complementary measures included actions to enhance the resilience of the banking industry to the threat of cyber risk and deployment of an industry wide Cybersecurity Fusion Centre (C2FC) and Malware Information Sharing Platform (MISP) to address the growing cyber risk by providing a unified interface for cybersecurity intelligence sharing and enhanced incident response capabilities.”
According to Emefiele, “these measures have yielded the desired outcomes, as we begin to see the initial outline of an encouraging recovery given the recent data released by the National Bureau of Statistics with GDP growth put at 5% for the second quarter of 2021.”
Emefiele added that despite the headwinds associated with the pandemic, the banking industry has, however, remained relatively resilient.
He stated, “This is attested to by our financial indicators with the industry Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and Liquidity Ratio (LR) standing at 15.2% and 41.7%, respectively, at end-July 2021. These are above the prescribed prudential minimum. Also, the Non-Performing Loan Ratio, which was 5.4% as at the same period was above the regulatory maximum of 5% by only 40 bps.”
Notwithstanding the above achievements, Mr. Emefiele said that the nation could not afford to rest its oars as the work was far from over.