The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday informed stakeholders and members of the general public that its offices will remain open for business during the period of economic lockdown across the country.
The bank in a statement signed by its director of corporate communication, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said that as a regulator, it has triggered its business continuity plans to ensure that the bank’s operations remain largely undisrupted at this present time when social distancing has become key to checking further spread of the virus. It also directed all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and other financial institutions to do same.
Meanwhile the apex bank has released guidelines for operations of N100 billion credit support for the healthcare sector following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.
In a circular signed by Mr Kevin Amugo, Director Financial Policy Regulation Department on Wednesday, the apex bank indicated that indigenous pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners that wanted to expand or build their capacities would benefit from the scheme.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that CBN had earlier announced the N100 billion intervention for the healthcare industry to strengthen the sector’s capacity to meet potential increase in demand for healthcare and services.
In the guideline, the apex bank noted that the scheme would provide credit to indigenous pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare value chain players intending to build or expand their businesses.
The CBN said the scheme was also expected to increase private and public investment in the healthcare sector, facilitates improvement in healthcare delivery and reduce medical tourism to enhance foreign exchange conservation.
The bank further explained that the objective of the scheme was to provide long-term low cost finance for healthcare development that would lead to the evolvement of world-class healthcare facilities in the country.
According to the bank, the scheme will improve access to affordable credit by indigenous pharmaceutical companies to expand their operations and comply with the World Health Organisation’s good manufacturing practices.
The CBN noted that the eligible participants under the scheme were healthcare products manufacturers and pharmaceutical equipment.