Business

‘Covid-19 facility not a grant, beneficiaries must pay back’

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has clarified that all various intervention funds to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on households and businesses would be repaid by beneficiaries.
CBN’S Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, stated this on Tuesday when he featured on a live interview aired by TVC Business Programme.
The apex bank, at the break out of Covid-19 in March, rolled out a series of facilities totalling over N1.1 trillion to support critical sectors of the economy.
Of the sum, about N1 trillion was channeled to support the local manufacturing sector as well as boost import substitution. About N100 billion was set aside to support the health sector to ensure laboratories, researchers and innovators work with global scientists to patent and produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria, while N50 billion was earmarked to support small businesses and households.
The clarification is coming against the backdrop in some quarters ascribing the facility as grants.
Okorafor said the impact of the fund had been massive on the economy, adding that the size of N50 billion intervention fund may be increased to accommodate more beneficiaries.
“I want to let Nigerians know this, these are loans, they are not grant. They are not palliatives that would not be paid back. These are loans that would be paid back. So we have details of those who have been given the loans and they really have to pay them back at the appropriate time.
“We are determined to ensure that the impact of Covid-19 does not drag the economy into recession. With determination on our side and cooperation of all Nigerians, the economy will bounce back,” the CBN spokesperson said.
Throwing light on the creative industry, Okorafor said the handover of the facility was timely, considering the various challenges facing the country’s economy at the moment.
He said that the renovation of the national edifice would transform the facility into Nigeria’s creative industrial centre.

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