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Covid19 lockdown: CBN obtains special exemptions for financial sector




The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has obtained special exemptions for financial institutions and agencies to run “skeletal operations” during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown effective in Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State.

This was made known in a joint communique signed by Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance and Godwin Emiefele, the governor of the CBN.

The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari addressed the country on Sunday, the 29th of March, taking a stern stance on the COVID-19 crisis and declaring a total cessation of movements in Lagos and Abuja, the two cities that have become hotspots for the novel coronavirus disease. He also declared a lockdown in Ogun State as well because of the state’s close proximity to Lagos.

This lockdown was set to affect every sector of the economy including the financial sector. The only businesses that were allowed to stay open were essential services like “healthcare related businesses; food processing, distribution and retail companies, petroleum distribution and retail entities, power generation, transmission and distribution companies and private security companies” according to the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

But now the CBN in congruence with the Ministry of Finance have been able to obtain an exemption for the financial sector. Read the full statement below:

“In light of the devastating effects of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) on many countries around the world, we applaud and appreciate the appropriate and proactive restrictions in personal and vehicular movement directed by President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech of Sunday 29 March 2020.

These restrictions are critical to significantly reduce the transmission rate of the disease and make it much easier for health professional to trace, test and isolate patients. To ensure that Nigerians can still perform online transactions and use ATMs whilst observing these restrictions, we will like to inform the general public and all affected stakeholders that we have obtained exemptions from the President to allow very skeletal operations in the Financial System and Money Markets in order to keep the system in light operations during this time.

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To this end, all relevant staff of affected outfits and agencies should look out for further instructions from their immediate bosses. We are mindful of the difficulties these restrictions would bring on ordinary Nigerians and are grateful to the President for approving these exemptions, which should help ease some of these burdens. We urge all Nigerians to be patient, cooperative and united as all hands are on deck to defeat this virus.”

Saviour Adugba is a journalist by day and a poet by night. He is fascinated by the internet of things, virtual reality and connecting the dots for brands. Saviour is the Lead, Content Development at

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