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Nigeria introduces stimulus package to ease coronavirus hit

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Corona Chronicles: 30 March – 3 April

By 'Tofe Ayeni
Posted on Thursday, 2 April 2020 10:10

Police men patrol the deserted central business district on the first day of a 14-day lockdown aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lagos, Nigeria 31 March 2020. Reuters/Temilade Adelaja

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced a stimulus package to help households and small businesses hardest hit by the adverse impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Government officials have sent a WhatsApp message, which they are encouraging citizens to share, with a link to apply for COVID-19 related relief. The process involves submitting an application, which then has to be approved by the CBN to determine if the household or company is eligible.

The package, the N50bn ($128.4m) Targeted Credit Facility, is in loans, not grants.

READ MORE: Nigeria: Lagos prepares for life in a coronavirus lockdown

Lagos looks for solutions

Lagos State also announced an economic stimulus package for residents, targeting 200,000 households in the first phase.

This involves food packs, put together by the agriculture ministry, that are to be distributed to every local government area in the state. It is to reach the most vulnerable communities and households, with priority given to those who rely on daily wages.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said: “We are all aware that this is a trying time for our citizens and since the partial drop in economic activities, our government deemed it necessary to reach out to the vulnerable ones in society.”

These food packs are produced for six-person households and are meant to last for at least 14 days.

The governor explained: “We would be giving bags of rice, bags of beans, garri, bread, dry pepper, and we are trying to see if we can add water and some elements of vitamin C.”

READ MORE: Nigeria’s locked-down drinks industry raises bootleg alcohol risks

Registration hurdles

As a first step to identify the most vulnerable in the state, the database of the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency was used, and an SMS was sent to people aged over 60, with questions to answer to see if they were eligible to receive these packs.

However, as it is likely that many are not registered, the state commissioner for agriculture, Prince Gbolahan Lawal, is now stressing the importance of every Lagos resident registering with the agency.

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