By Idowu Abdullahi,
The Federal Government has announced the inclusion of banks and other financial institutions among establishments exempted from the two weeks restriction placed on movement by President Muhammadu Buhari, following spike in recorded cases of coronavirus in the country.
It explained that though the restriction period was meant to identify, trace and isolate all individuals that have come into contact with confirmed cases, ensure treatment of confirmed cases while restricting further spread to other states, there is still need for banks and financial institution to continue with light operations for effective transactions till such times the lock-down will be lifted.
Recall that the President, had during a nationwide broadcast on Sunday, exempted hospitals and all related medical establishments as well as organizations in health care related manufacturing and distribution; food processing, distribution and retail companies; petroleum distribution and retail entities, power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and private security companies with financial institutions missing from the list exempted from the lock-down.
However, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, revealed that the exemption for financial institutions and banks were obtained from the President in light of the current situation in the country to keep transactions going during the lock-down.
The duo through a statement they jointly signed and released to newsmen on Monday in Abuja, clarified that the approval by the President would allow minimal skeletal operations in the financial system and money markets, saying such will help ease burden of the sudden life changes occasioned by the global pandemic.
“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.
“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,” the statement said.
Furthermore, both the Minister and CBN governor enjoined all relevant staff of affected outfits and agencies to look out for further instructions from their immediate bosses.