On the back of the rise in global crude oil prices, Nigerian foreign exchange (forex) reserves increased from $34.94 billion last November to $36.23 billion by January 21, 2021.
Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who spoke at the end of the bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, said the rise reflected improvements in crude oil prices, partial global economic recovery, amid optimism over the discovery and dissemination by most developed economies of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.
He added that the economy of the nation and its global counterpart had continued to show prospects for recovery from the COVID-19 impacts.
In the first quarter of 2021, he assured Nigeria of improved economic development.
The medium-term outlook has continued to display better prospects for recovery for both the domestic and global economies.
This is backed by the recent modest rise in oil prices and renewed optimism regarding COVID-19 vaccine procurement and delivery. The data and forecasts available for key macroeconomic factors for the Nigerian economy indicate further improvements in output growth in the first quarter of 2021. ‘’
This would be assisted by the monetary and fiscal authorities’ concerted and sustained measures, including broad-based stimulus and liquidity injections,” Emefiele said.
In order to curb inflation, he urged the Federal Government to take more immediate measures to address the challenge of insecurity, adding that insecurity also posed a threat to food security.
Emefiele also said that, under its Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) beginning in 2015, the apex bank disbursed N554.61 billion to 2, 849,490 farmers to improve food security.
The CBN Governor said yesterday in a communiqué released in Abuja that out of the number, N61.02 billion was disbursed to 353,370 farmers in the dry season.
N554.63 billion of the CBN’s real sector interventions were disbursed under the ABP to 2,849,490 beneficiaries in 2015, of which N61.02 billion was allocated to 359,370 farmers in the dry season.’
In the light of the ongoing synchronized efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by the monetary and fiscal authorities, the bank has committed a substantial amount of money towards this objective.
“In fact, total disbursements amounted to N2 trillion as of January 2021.
We have disbursed N192.64 billion to 426,016 beneficiaries for the COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) intended for households and small businesses.
“We have also disbursed N106.96 billion under the AgriBusiness Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme to 27,956 beneficiaries,” Emefiele said.
The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) announced that the apex bank also provided enormous amounts to support the health sector, the empowerment of young people and the creative industry.
We have disbursed N72.96 billion to 73 projects comprising 26 pharmaceutical projects and 47 hospitals and health services projects in the country through the Health Care Support Intervention Facility.
Via the Creative Industry Funding Initiative and the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund, the CBN also provided financial assistance amounting to N3.12 billion for 320 beneficiaries and N268 million for 395 beneficiaries, respectively.
“The bank has so far provided N18.58 billion for the acquisition of 347,853 7 Classified as Confidential Electricity Reading Meters to Discos in support of the National Mass Metering Program to improve power supply,” Emefiele said.
He assured that, while exploring cooperation with the Federal Government to improve funding for critical sectors of the economy, the bank would sustain its drive to improve access to loans to the private sector.