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COVID-19: Coalition stages economic summit, backs CBN intervention opportunities




A coalition of Civil Society Groups Monday staged an ecomomic summit which mainly focused on various intervention programmes of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

President of the Coalition, Mr Etuk Bassey Williams, who spoke during the 7th edition of the summit in Abuja noted that the forum afforded different civil society groups the opportunity to sensitise the general public on the effort of the country’s apex bank.

He said, “It would be necessary to refresh our minds on the rationale behind the economic summit. The coalition of civil society groups considered it pertinent to create a time and platform to discuss the economic policies of the government and how it affects the populace. We believe that a summit like the economic summit will generate feedback to the government on policies so as to know whether it is working or not.  Most significant of this summit is that it is taking place at a time when the world is facing a very disturbing and difficult economic situation resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The theme of this year’s summit: “Post Covid-19: understanding the economic interventions of CBN & the roles of civil society groups” has come at a very time when the country is in dire need of a calm and positive atmosphere to revamp the economy using various interventions of the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria. This effort of the federal government has further demonstrated its willingness to alleviate the sufferings resulting from unemployment and poverty. It is also aimed at enlightenment of our stakeholders, particularly the youths on the many interventions of the government and how to access them.

“The breakout of covid-19 pandemic is in no doubt a major cause of concern due to adverse effects on the economy ranging from sharp reduction in crude oil price, turmoil in global stock and financial markets and massive cancellation of business activities across the globe. Most disturbing is the wrong narrative that the economic challenges are as a result of faulty policies of the CBN, therefore, the need to engage Nigerians, especially the civil society has become imperative so as to put the records straight. 

“The summit is also an attempt to generate fresh narratives that will help shape the perceptions of Nigerians on the impact and efficacy of several monetary and palliative policies during the lockdown period introduced to address the resultant economic challenges occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic. Considering also our civic responsibility of interfacing between government and the civil populace, it is right that we support viable and proactive intervention policies of government.

“Major interventions introduced by the CBN includes: Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS), Agri-Business, Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS)), Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF), Credit Support for Health Sector and Creative Industry Financing Initiative etc. The whole essence of these efforts by the CBN is to create support for businesses in order to avert recession and headship during and post covid-19 pandemic. 

“It is common knowledge that most people either are not aware of these interventions or do not know how to access the supports. It is our expectation that at the end of this summit we would have understood the scope and impact of the many intervention policies of the CBN on businesses and households, and also suggest to the government on how to sustain it and make it accessible.”   

At the end of the summit, a communique was issued by the 300 participants.

The 12-point communique then called for behavioral change among the citizens in a bid to properly understand government policies.

Part of the communique reads, “That the civil societies should collaborate to discourage ethnic
divide and promote unity; That government should utilize community based organization to
enlighten people at the community levels on government policies; That the interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria are appropriate and welcomed by all; That the federal government and the CBN Should be applauded for rising to the occasion and taken the proactive steps to make policies geared towards cushioning the effect of the Covi-19 pandemic; 8. That there is a need to think futurist so as to prepare ourselves towards emerging technological development; That citizens should endeavor to get involved with government interventions available in the entrepreneurial sectors; That we need entrepreneurial skill to be able to succeed in business; That we should Identifying entrepreneurship as a national ideology. Acquire knowledge and create job.”