The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said the apex bank and the participating financial institutions have disbursed over N3 trillion intervention loans to facilitate economic recovery since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emefiele said the loans were disbursed to households, Small and Medium Scales Enterprise (SMEs), and small holders’ farmers to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
The CBN governor stated this at the Ekiti State University (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, while delivering a convocation lecture entitled: “The role of Central Bank in managing economic downturns,” to mark the 40th anniversary of the institution.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Edward Adamu, the governor said N948 billion was disbursed to 4,478,381 small-holder farmers to boost food production.
He added that apart from encouraging farming, the scheme introduced to revive the ailing economy had generated 12.5 m direct and indirect jobs for unemployed youths.
The CBN governor added that under the credit facility to help households and businesses that suffered significant losses during the pandemic, the bank had disbursed N368.79 billion to 778,000 beneficiaries.
Emefiele noted that 648,052 households and owners of SMEs benefited from the Federal Government-driven policy.
The CBN chief said: “As you all know, one of the major challenges facing Nigerian economy is over reliance on revenues and foreign exchange earnings from the sale of crude oil, even though the petrol represents just 10 per cent of our GDP.’’
“More so, the non-oil sector, particularly agricultural and manufacturing sectors, which contributes about 30 and 13 percent to our GDP have been confronted with low investments, inadequate credit to real sector and weak infrastructure.
“Furthermore, with an annual population growth rate of 2.8 per cent, it was important that all efforts were made available for Nigerians, particularly in sectors that had the potentials to absorb youth. We were aware that if necessary support was given to households and business, productivity will rise and investment will flow into our economy,” he stated.
The Vice Chancellor of EKSU, Prof Edward Olanipekun, described the 40 years of the establishment of the university as impactful in the life of the state, saying the university has been a reliable training ground for the future leaders.
He said though the university is experiencing some challenges as an institution, assuring that no effort will be spared to keep the flag flying in its resolve to be a good citadel of learning for Nigerians.
The Chairman of the occasion and Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Revd Felix Ajakaye, urged the governments to be more pragmatic in the implementation of some of their policies for them to be impactful on the citizens.
“Our thought and actions must be practical-oriented. We have to go beyond lectures by being practical in dealing with policies that can benefit poor Nigerians,” the Bishop advised.