Financial institutions will fund N1.8tn COVID-19 stimulus package – FG

 Financial institutions will fund N1.8tn COVID-19 stimulus package – FG

The Federal Government on Thursday said about N1.8tn of its N2.3tn COVID-19 economic stimulus package would be funded by financial institutions.

It also disclosed that about N288bn from the N500bn of the package funded through the 2021 budget has so far been released, adding that it was currently in the process of releasing a second batch.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, disclosed this on the side-lines of the National Steering Committee meeting of the Nigeria Open Government Partnership in Abuja.

Commenting on measures adopted to salvage the economy from collapse as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister said the N2.3tn stimulus package had to be deployed.

“And there are basically two sources of funding the N2.3tn. The first N500bn had to come from special accounts, which were embedded in the revised budget,” he stated.

Agba added, “And then the other N1.8tn, which has programmes that were set up to be financed through the financial institutions.

“And we had negotiated a five per cent interest rates with a one year moratorium just to ensure that we are able to grow agriculture, look after the MSMEs and support the aviation sector.”

The minister said the Federal Government also made provisions for the states, as it stopped the repayment of loans collected by the states.

He said, “We also made some provisions for the states for their survival. Like you know, the states had some bailout funds that they got from borrowings.

“We had to stop the repayment, both the principal and the interest for a year. These are measures that had to be taken to get the economy going.”

Agba said the measures eventually paid off, as the country posted a positive GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Asked to state how much of the N2.3tn stimulus package had so far been injected into the economy, the minister replied, “For the N500bn which comes from the budget, we have released about N288bn to deal with those issues.

Agba said, “Some of it revolves around infrastructure and they are not things you do in a day. It is when the work is completed that you make the balance payment.”

This, he said, involved the creation of access roads in rural areas around the agro-corridors to to help food security.

Ayomide Oyewole

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