Nigeria: Central Bank seeks approval to provide services amid lockdown

by Rushda Fathima Khan
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The Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele have obtained Presidential approval to permit critical financial services to function amid the lockdown.

In a bid to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the country, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, had issued a directive restricting the movement of people excluding those on essential services in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States.

To cushion the effects on Nigerians, the Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria obtained Presidential approval to permit critical financial services to function during this period.

Therefore, relevant security agencies have directed to grant passage to critical staff of these institutions to enable essential and strategic financial transactions to go undisrupted during the period of the lockdown.

These institutions include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc, switching companies, mobile money operators and payment solution service providers.

According to the statement released by the Central Bank of Nigeria, “The general public are expected to limit their use of cash and avail themselves of the use of alternative payment channels such as mobile banking, Internet banking, Mobile money, Point of Sale, and USSD.”

“The public have been assured that financial institutions will remain operational during this period to guard against panic withdrawals from banks,” the statement reads.

They have equally been urged to adhere strictly to the movement restrictions and follow stipulated guidelines by the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and other relevant health agencies of government to curb possible spread of the virus in Nigeria.

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