Covid-19, CBN And Loans To Small Businesses

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on March 16, 2020, in furtherance of its mandate to assist affected businesses and regulated financial institutions in cushioning the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, announced the following policy measures:

  • Extension of Moratorium: Effective March 1, 2020, CBN intervention facilities are granted a further moratorium of one year on all principal repayments. Consequently, intervention loans currently under moratorium are granted an additional year. Accordingly, participating financial institutions are to provide new amortisation schedules for loan beneficiaries.
  • Reduction of Interest Rate: Effective March 1, 2020, interest rates on applicable CBN intervention facilities are reduced from Nine to Five percent per annum for one year.
  • N50 Billion Targeted Credit Facility: The CBN has established a N50 billion facility through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) that are hard hit by Covid-19. Possible beneficiaries include but are not limited to hoteliers, airline service providers, healthcare merchants, etc.
  • Credit Support For Healthcare Industry: In anticipation of an increase in demand for healthcare services and products, the CBN, has opened its intervention loans to pharmaceutical companies, and hospital and healthcare practitioners who intend to open or expand their drug manufacturing plants or upgrade their facilities to first class centres. These are additions to existing CBN interventions in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
  • Regulatory Forbearance: The CBN granted Deposit Money Banks leave to temporarily restructure the tenor and loan terms for businesses affected by the outbreak of Covid-19, particularly oil and gas, agriculture and manufacturing enterprises.

What do these measures mean for the Small Business Owner? A sampler:

  1. If your business has a loan under moratorium, it is now entitled to an extension of one year. And, if you are yet to do so, you should ask for, and receive, a new amortisation schedule for the loan from your bank.
  2. If you procured your loan through a CBN intervention facility at an interest rate of Nine percent per annum, the interest rate has been reduced by Four percent. You will now repay the loan at a new interest rate of Five percent per annum for one year.
  3. If you are a hotelier, airline service provider, healthcare merchant, etc. and your business is hard hit by Covid-19, you can now access the new N50 billion CBN facility for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank.
  4. If you are in the pharmaceutical, hospital or healthcare business, and you intend to open or expand your drug manufacturing plant or upgrade your facility to a first class centre, the new N50 billion CBN facility is ready and available for you.
  5. Are you in oil and gas, agriculture, manufacturing, etc. and you are struggling with repayment of your loan to your bank? Now is the time to negotiate a temporary restructuring of the terms of your loan. The CBN has granted forbearance to Deposit Money Banks for this purpose.

Still On Covid-19: Dear Customers And Partners

The continually changing COVID-19 situation in Nigeria, Africa and the world presents an unprecedented challenge and a time of uncertainty to all of us. As we monitor, assess and respond to this pandemic, we wish to reassure our community of Small Business Owners and the ecosystem that supports them. We assure our valued customers and partners of our business continuity plan, as our primary focus is to continue our commitment to provide the products and services that we have all come to rely on.

In response to the pandemic, our staff who are able to work remotely now do so on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while we maintain skeletal presence at our office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We are maintaining this routine up to and including April 13, 2020. Rest assured, our digital platforms, https://smefinance.org, https://smefinance.org/thesmelab/, https://smefinance.org/forum, are up 24/7. We can also be reached on +234 815 612 1212 during office hours.

We have taken these measures to help in managing the potential spread of Covid-19, protect the health and safety of our staff and maintain our capacity to continue working with our partners and serving our customers. While we monitor the situation, we urge everyone to stay tuned to updates on the pandemic as released by the World Health Organisation and our various national health authorities.

Our thoughts and our hearts go to everyone. Please, stay healthy and safe from Covid-19!

Contact Us Now if your business needs help with any of the above-listed CBN policy measures.

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