Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) reserves rose from $34.94 billion last November to $36.23 billion by January 21, 2021 on the back of increase in global crude oil prices.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who spoke at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the bank, said the increase reflected improvements in crude oil prices, partial global economic recovery amid optimism over the discovery and distributions of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines by most developed economies.
He added that the nation’s economy and its global counterpart had continued to show prospect for recovery from the effects of COVID-19.
He assured of improved economic growth in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2021.
“The medium-term outlook for both the domestic and global economies continued to show improved prospects of recovery. This is supported by the recent moderate uptick in crude prices and increased optimism over the procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Available data and forecasts for key macroeconomic variables for the Nigerian economy suggest further improvement in output growth in the first quarter of 2021. ‘’
This would be supported by the coordinated and sustained interventions of the monetary and fiscal authorities, including the broad-based stimulus and liquidity injections,’’ Emefiele said.
He urged the Federal Government to take more urgent steps to tackle the challenge of insecurity so as to curb inflation, adding that insecurity also posed a threat to food security.
Emefiele also said the apex bank has disbursed N554.61 billion to 2, 849,490 farmers to boost food security under its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) beginning from 2015.
In a communiqué issued in Abuja yesterday, the CBN Governor said that out of the amount, N61.02 billion was disbursed to 353,370 dry season farmers.
“Of the CBN’s real sector interventions, under the ABP, N554.63 billion was disbursed to 2,849,490 beneficiaries in 2015, of which N61.02 billion was allocated to 359,370 dry season farmers.
In the light of the on-going synchronised efforts by the monetary and fiscal authorities to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank has committed substantial amount of money towards this objective.
“Indeed, total disbursements as at January 2021 amounted to N2 trillion.
“For COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) meant for household and small businesses, we have disbursed N192.64 billion to 426,016 beneficiaries.
“We have also disbursed N106.96 billion to 27,956 beneficiaries under the AgriBusiness Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme,’’ Emefiele said.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the apex bank also provided huge sums to support the health sector, youth empowerment as well as the creative industry.
“Through the Health Care Support Intervention Facility, we have disbursed N72.96 billion to 73 projects that comprise 26 pharmaceutical projects and 47 Hospitals and Health Care Services Project in the country.
“The CBN also provided financial support through the Creative Industry Financing Initiative and the Nigerian Youth Investment Fund amounting to N3.12 billion with 320 beneficiaries and N268 million to 395 beneficiaries respectively.
“On enhancing power supply, the bank has so far, provided N18.58 billion for the procurement of 347,853 7 Classified as Confidential electricity reading meters to Discos in support of the National Mass Metering Programme,’’ Emefiele said.
He assured that the bank would sustain its drive to improve access to credit to the private sector while exploring collaboration with the Federal Government to improve funding to critical sectors of the economy.