By Olarewaju Kola
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria's central bank announced Monday a credit relief of $136.6M to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele said households, small and medium-sized enterprises, airline service providers, hotels, health care merchants will benefit from the funds.
"The CBN hereby establishes a facility through for households and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been particularly hard hit by Covid-19," he said at a news conference.
He noted the pandemic has "significant adverse consequences" for the global and Nigerian economies, including crude oil supplies, stock, sporting events, financial markets, entertainment and hospitality industries.
Other interventions announced by the bank include reduction of interest rates for the loan from 9% to 5% retroactively to March 1.
Nigeria has recorded two cases of the virus known as COVID-19 including an index case of an Italian businessman.
But the national disease control center warned Monday against complacency.
It said the outbreak could be devastating in a country of 200 million people if it fails to take serious hygiene measures.