The Central Bank of Nigeria says the apex bank and other financial institutions will open for business in spite the two weeks lockdown declared by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun States.
Isaac Okorafor, the CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
President Buhari had issued a directive restricting the movement of people, excluding those on essential service, with effect from 11pm on March 30 in the FCT, Lagos and Ogun States as a response to the Coronavirus Disease.
Okorafor explained that subsequently, the Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, obtained Presidential approval to permit critical financial services to function during this period.
He said relevant security agencies had been requested 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.
He disclosed that these institutions were CBN, Deposit Money Banks, Nigeria Interbank Settlement System, Switching companies, mobile money operators and payment solution service providers.
Okorafor said: “In view of the ongoing restrictions and in order to check further spread of the coronavirus disease, the CBN hereby urges the general public 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 is therefore assured that financial institutions will remain operational during this period and therefore should guard against panic withdrawals from their banks.
“We also urge all Nigerians 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.”