The Bank of Japan is likely to narrow the scope of its COVID-19 aid, but keep it in place for longer in an attempt to focus the measures on businesses that still need help, says a former top official.

"A partial extension is possible,” said Eiji Maeda, who led the central bank’s pandemic crisis response before stepping down from his post as executive director in May last year. "Funding is becoming an issue that’s focused on some businesses and some sectors. It’s no longer an issue for monetary policy, which addresses the overall economy.”

With the aid scheduled to expire at the end of March, Maeda expects a decision on its fate as soon as next week’s BOJ meeting.