CBN holds lending rate at 12.5%
SGF tasks COVID-19 experts’ board
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday retained its monetary rate, which guides lending, by leaving its headline rate at 12.5 per cent along with every other parameter around the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR)
This was the high point of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting yesterday. In May, the apex bank loosened its stance by lowering the lending rate by 100 basis points from 13.5 per cent as part of its COVID-19 intervention action to make access to credit cheaper, particularly to entrepreneurs. The policy is expected to bolster start-ups and expand existing businesses to create jobs and enhance health of the citizenry amid the pandemic.
The MPC, in a communiqué at the end of the meeting, explained its stance. “The committee reviewed the policy options before it and argued that the option of tightening at this time would contradict the noble initiative of expansion of affordable credit to the real sector. This would heighten the cost of production, which will translate to higher prices of goods and services as well as harder economic condition for people.
“On the other hand, loosening monetary stance would provide the desired succour for stimulating growth and rapid recovery, but with implications for domestic private investment and capital mobilisation to support the huge domestic financing gap. Further cut in MPR may not necessarily lead to a corresponding decrease in market interest rate, considering the current economic challenges,” it stated.
Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, yesterday raised the alarm that the country’s COVID-19 situation might escalate, if citizens did not observe the protocols.
While inaugurating the Board of Experts (BoE) of the Healthcare Sector Research and Development Intervention Scheme (HSRDIS) in Abuja yesterday, Mustapha said: “If we lose the sense of the moment, we will be confronted with another pandemic and we will find ourselves starting all over again. If we had built on the experiences of Ebola and other epidemics that we have dealt with in the past, probably today we wouldn’t have started with about two molecular laboratories for the testing of COVID-19.
“If you travel the shores of this country, you will find out that we have over 10,000 public primary health centres scattered in wards and villages, ill-equipped, ineffective and not being put into use; but we keep building them.” He appealed to the experts to also look at governance structures in the healthcare sector apart from their primary responsibilities.
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