IMF criticizes Nigeria govt over mismanagement of excess crude account

The International Monetary Fund has criticised the government of Nigeria for mismanaging the Excess Crude Account and not saving enough for the rainy day.

The Director, African Department at the IMF, Abebe Selassie , in an interview with Nigerian  journalists after presenting the regional economic outlook on the sub-Saharan Africa at the ongoing joint annual spring meetings with the World Bank in Washington DC, explained that though the country had done well with the Sovereign Wealth Funds managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, it decried the poor handling of the Excess Crude Account.

Selassie said, “There have been two Sovereign Wealth Funds in Nigeria. There has been the Excess Crude Account and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority. The NSIA has been run transparently and based on standard best practice and it has been doing a good job.

“The concern that we have is about the ECA, because if you recall that the ECA economically was set up to save resources when oil prices are high, and to be drawn on when oil prices are low. We do not think that the ECA has been doing effectively enough job that way.

“Because you see, when oil prices fell, the economy was very hard in the last couple of years, we feel like much better job could have been done, saving enough more in the ECA when oil prices were at $100 and $120 per barrel.”

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo established the ECA in 2004 to promote savings and every dollar above the annual oil benchmark was deposited in the account. The Obasanjo government built up the ECA to $20bn at the end of its tenure in 2007.

However, successive governments since after Obasanjo have grossly abused the ECA and treated it like a slush fund that could be spent by the President and the governors whenever they wanted.

For instance, the withdrawal of about $Ibn and another $496m from the ECA by President Muhammadu Buhari without the constitutionally required legislative appropriation sparked outrage from some states and opposition political parties recently. The funds were said to have been used to intensify the fight against Boko Haram and acquire military aircraft from the United States.

Using the management of the ECA as a basis, the IMF had ranked Nigeria second-worst performer on the Sovereign Wealth Funds user index only ahead of Qatar in the Fiscal Monitor report also released on Wednesday.

Though the IMF said the index was compiled using the corporate governance and transparency scores of the sovereign wealth funds and the size of assets as a percentage of 2016 GDP of the countries considered, Selassie clarified on Friday that IMF considered the ECA and not the fund managed by the NSIA (which was put at $2.15bn as of May 2018) to arrive at Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund ranking.

The IMF also urged Nigeria to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement noting that when completed, the trade deal would establish a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $2.5tn.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari has yet to sign the AfCTA, saying the country could not afford to go back to the days of signing agreements without understanding and planning for the consequences of such actions.

Selassie said, “From our perspective, we think that the AfCTA will help the region integrate; it’s been the dream of our leaders dating back to independence days and we think that it’s a very important initiative and beyond politics, it will have a positive impact economically.

“Like all trade agreements, like all integration measures, there can be adverse effects but these can be identified and policies are introduced to address those. We have to look at the big picture. Coming to Nigeria specifically, we think that Nigeria will also benefit as the largest economy from joining the AfCTA and being a full participant of that. In my view, looking at how dynamic Nigeria is and looking at the business people Nigeria has, the wealth of talent and entrepreneurs that it has, I don’t think you have to fear anybody else in terms of competition.”

The Managing Director of IMF, Christine Lagarde, had on Thursday called on the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy, saying it was the right thing to do.

According to the IMF 2019 Article IV Consultation on Nigeria, phasing out implicit fuel subsidies while strengthening social safety nets to mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable will help reduce the poverty gap and free up additional fiscal space in Nigeria.

Selassie, who reiterated the same position, noted that removing subsidy was important because the lion share of the benefit of the subsidy went to the rich people.

Source: Punch

What Buhari said at Dubai Investment Expo

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on world leaders to come up with proposals to create a digital world that is accessible, inclusive and safe to all.

Buhari gave the call while delivering his keynote note address at the 2019 Annual Investment Meeting, AIM, in Dubai on Monday.

Speaking at the summit with the theme “Mapping the Future of Foreign Direct Investment: Enriching World Economies through Digital Globalization,’’ Buhari said a certain level of regulation was needed to preserve the integrity of the digital economy.

Acknowledging that digital globalisation is transforming the world almost on a daily basis with innovations and transformative ideas, the Nigerian leader cautioned that the cyber world would remain a constant threat if left unregulated.

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The President decried the use of cyberspace to manipulate elections, subvert the democratic rights of citizens as well as propagate violence.

He also lamented the steady rise in fake news and cybercrimes, particularly when platforms are hijacked and manipulated by criminals.

Buhari, therefore, called for collective efforts led by both public and private sector leaders to address the emerging threats of digital globalisation.

Buhari

‘‘Today, we have a cyber-world that is intangible but real. This border-less world is powerful, and it impacts the lives of billions of people, no matter how remote their physical locations are.

‘‘People work in it. People socialise in it. And people invest in it. This presents enormous opportunities. But it also remains a constant threat if left unregulated.

‘‘On the one hand, it has made the human race more productive and more efficient. Today, we have digital banking, virtual currencies and many social platforms that connect people and cultures.

‘‘On the other hand, we have seen platforms hijacked and manipulated as evidenced by the steady rise in fake news and cybercrimes.

‘‘More recently, we are also witnessing the use of the cyberspace to manipulate elections, subvert the democratic rights of citizens as well as propagate violence.

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‘‘In effect, the digital world has become the new frontier for both good and evil. Therefore, the challenge for world leaders must be to ensure that this space is inclusive, accessible and safe,’’ the President told the ninth edition of AIM, attended by world leaders in both the public and private sectors.

He used the occasion to reflect on the digital revolution in Nigeria, buoyed by impressive statistics on mobile phone penetration, technology hubs and the advent of young entrepreneurs attracting investments of over 100 million dollars to the country.

Buhari said: ‘‘In Nigeria, our mobile phone penetration exceeds eighty per cent. This means the majority of Nigeria’s one hundred and ninety million citizens are fully connected to this new digital world; especially our youth.

‘‘Sixty-five per cent or one hundred and seventeen million Nigerians are under the age of 25 years. These bright minds are the drivers of this emerging digital sector.

‘‘Today, Nigeria has close to ninety technology hubs and every day, new ones are coming up and they are all developing solutions for Nigerian, and indeed global problems.

‘‘Already, these young entrepreneurs have attracted investments of over one hundred million dollars. A sizeable amount from overseas including Silicon Valley.

‘‘As many of you from this region are aware, Nigerian start-ups always have a very impressive outing at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX). Many have won prizes.’’

Buhari

The President told the investment summit that as leaders in the public and private sector it was their responsibility to create the enabling environment for young people to flourish and reach their full potential.

While sharing the Nigerian experience, he said, ‘‘When we came in 2015, we immediately agreed that any future economic growth must be inclusive. As the Nigerian youth population is fully digitalised, it is clear that the idea of having an inclusive economy cannot be achieved without digital inclusion.’’

The President announced that Nigeria was working on creating the largest digital database in Africa with over thirty million Nigerians and legal residents already captured in the country’s digital identity system.

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Also, the President highlighted that Nigeria’s public sector reform programmes, from procurement to payroll to revenue collections, focus on digitising key operations.

He said the recourse to technology and digitisation reinforces the administration’s objectives of improving efficiency, accountability and transparency in governance.

On cyber security, President Buhari said Nigeria has taken the lead in cyber policing in West Africa, working with regional and global partners.

Source: By Seun Opejobi

Australia’s housing market contraction is worse than first thought: IMF

This morning (in part via the AFR), banks and the market have a heads up from the IMF that the APRA and RBA-driven harsh curbs on mortgage credit supply (and most of all for investors) is the primary driver of a “weakening economy” over the June 2019 half year.

This fast changing IMF view will be spelled out in more detail later this week, the growth outlook for the economy being revised down in synch with fast rising home loan arrears, animated wealth effects thanks to the elevated debt burden and hot-headed political rows over credit availability and many related tax matters.

READ STORY: ZENITH BANK GETS NEWS M.D

 

IMF

May this cocktail, following a low impact sixth budget last week from Scott Morrison’s  Coalition cabinet, produce a better appreciation of the interventionist options ahead for the Reserve Bank, APRA and any incoming Labor government.

In its splash this morning, The Australian Financial Review reports that “the IMF will release forecasts in the coming week for Australia that incorporate the effects of a ‘stronger contraction in residential investment relative to what we had’ at its last outlook, which was based on the state of the economy in December.”

In an interview with Thomas Helbling, the IMF’s lead economist for Australia, the AFR’s Washington correspondent draws out an endorsement for last week’s federal budget forecasts recognising the “weaker outlook” and even a nod to the Morrison government’s “use of sober commodity price forecasts.”

The accelerating property market downturn “will be among factors driving a likely downgrade in the IMF’s latest forecast for the Australian economy,” the AFR reports based on their chat with Helbling.

This downbeat view will be published as part of the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook ahead of the fund’s annual spring meetings in Washington that kick off on Friday this week.

Paired with an off-message IMF staff paper released overnight, the IMF, as supplier of the only recent “official” thinking on Australia’s outlook, are today openly advertising their newly-minted and more negative views – opinions that, for now anyway, are ritually buttressed by an assurance from Helbling that “the IMF’s baseline forecast remains of an economy that ‘absorbs the housing market downturn’”.

Except the data-heavy IMF staff analysis released last night can only encourage thinking that this polite caveat in the AFR interview is hogwash, and worth replacing with Macrobusiness-style pessimism.

If anything, this latest IMF intervention only serves to elevate – to a well-earned position at centre stage of monetary policy decision making – the relevance of the ever faster unfolding “wealth effects” that weigh so heavily on consumer confidence and must in short order curb the upturn business investment in Australia that’s supposedly underway.

More to the point, and startling, are the local statistician’s most recent data of these recent wealth affects in Australia.

In the Finance and Wealth variant of the national accounts (from 11 days ago), the Australian Bureau of Statistics put the detonation of mortgage wealth across the household sector over calendar year 2018 at a whopping A$475 billion.

That number is roughly equal to 30 per cent of the entire supply of mortgage credit from the banking system.

The same ABS Wealth accounts contained data on a collapse (no exaggeration) of household incomes in Australia in during the later period of 2018, an alternative measure of income so infrequently reported and this recent decline is so drastic that Banking Day is hesitant to report the actual numbers. In summary, average incomes using this specialised ABS measure were minimal during the December 2018 quarter, and rank among the lowest ever estimates for household incomes worked out by the ABS in its “flow of funds” data.

This economy-wide smackdown on average incomes follows from a direct use of slumping property market drawn well known ABS housing indices, with this number subtracted from more a more stable (but declining) metric on household disposable incomes in late 2018.

These wealth effects overall, the IMF staff analysts make clear, are or were “more prevalent” based on the slightly stale data they used. Thus all and sundry in Australia had better brace for “high responsiveness to a monetary policy shock”. Look, we quoted selectively for emphasis (and bias), and in fairness there is some boilerplate in the paper to minimise points of difference (and highlight agreement with) much of the Reserve Bank’s recent flurry of comments on the topic of wealth effects, but this is one IMF paper with a definite “Steve Keen” tenor to it all.

Many recent studies, the three IMF staffers emphasise, “are motivated by the experience of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008 or previous banking and financial crises”.

The IMF analysts latched onto “analysis by Mian, Roa and Sufi (on ‘Household Balance Sheets, Consumption, and the Economic Slump’ published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2013)” as a primary reference to frame their implication that Australia’s inefficient and compliance-burdened financial sector may very, very soon have to face up to a sharp reversal in credit quality, after years of assuming that the minimal charge to profits for bad debt provisions from the housing bubble could be repeated, for years already, and few questions asked.
Revisions on prior earnings guidance must surely be expected soon from from all four of the large, ASX-listed banks banks with either half-year or full-year profit reports for the period ending March 2019, and all due for release by early May.

For the latest local context, let’s turn to one nugget of data on asset quality we did not report last week that lends support to the IMF team’s theme of fast rising banking stress.

“Australian mortgage delinquencies are set to continue rising”, Moody’s Investors Service headlined a media release on Wednesday.

IMF

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Mortgages that were more than 30 days in arrears increased by 0.13 percentage point to 1.58 per cent over the year to November 2018, Moody’s said, a rare and noteworthy uplift from an arrears data series warranting little more than brief comment over recent years (with the recent exception of the AFR’s Chris Joye, who over recents few weeks has surveyed much complementary material on the collateral underlying RMBS bonds from Australian banks and others. Joye is projecting that one or more of the mortgage-backeds may soon incur losses for investors holding the most subordinated tranches, a novelty for a segment of the debt market with around 30 years of repayments in full).

In short, the IMF staff paper can be read as supporting the more severe, hard landing scenarios for the Australian banking industry, drawing on an abundance of local data and the Fund’s deep understanding of the last, worldwide, banking crisis in 2008.

Picking choice quotes once more to wrap up, the IMF trio talk up the settled “evidence on how high leverage in combination with asset price shocks can lead to demand driven recessions.”

In short, they “found that the marginal effect of a decline in home value on tighter credit constraints is significantly larger for postal codes that have a high housing leverage ratio.”
Source: Bankingday

Zenith Bank gets new M.D

The management of Zenith Bank Plc has announced that Ebenezer Onyeagwu will be its new managing director and chief executive officer.

In a notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday, the bank said the appointment is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The tenure of Peter Amangbo, who is currently the bank’s CEO, will expire on Friday, May 31 while Onyeagwu will take over from June 1, 2019.

Before his appointment, Onyeagwu had been the bank’s deputy managing director since October 2016 and spent 17 years working with Zenith Bank.

READ ALSO: JAIZ BANK HAS GROWN ITS CUSTOMER’S DEPOSIT TO N49BN

Zenith Bank

“The appointment is consistent with the bank’s tradition and succession strategy of grooming leaders from within,” the bank said.

Onyeagwu, who is a graduate of accounting from Auchi Polytechnic, began his career at the defunct Financial Merchant Bank in 1991 and later held several management positions in the erstwhile Citizens International Bank Limited until 2002 when he joined Zenith Bank.

He obtained a postgraduate diploma in Financial Strategy a certificate in Macroeconomics from the University of Oxford.

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He started out as a senior manager in the Internal Control and Audit Group of the bank and by 2005 had become an assistant general manager in the bank.

Source: By Oluseyi Awojulugbe

Jaiz has grown its customers’ deposit to N49bn, says Kaduna branch manager

The Branch Manager of Jaiz Bank in Kaduna state, Muhammad Murtala Halilu, says the bank’s customers’ deposit has grown from N33.7 billion in 2017 to N48.9 at the end of 2018.

Addressing a press conference at the bank’s stand during the just concluded 40th Kaduna International Trade Fair,  Halilu said the bank,  which is a non-interest Islamic bank is improving its E-channels or internet services in order to ease customer services and decongest the banking halls.

According to him, “We are also trying to deepen the financial services as we are heavily investing in our e-banking channels so that the banking halls can be decongested to meet our customers’ needs.

“Jaiz bank is a commercial bank but a non-interest financial institution which means we provide financing without interest.

“We started the bank as a regional bank with only three branches in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano, but today Jaiz bank has not only secured the national license, but have over 39 branches and still counting as we intend to open more branches this year.

“We have also increased our total asset base from N87.3 billion as at 2017, to N108.4 billion in 2018 and the customers deposit has also grown up from N33.7 billion in 2017 to N48.9 or roughly N50 billion at the end of 2018.”

He disclosed that the bank is trying to push for the CBN financial inclusion, so that many Nigerian’s will have access to banking services.

He added, “Jaiz bank is also participating in SMEs and retail financing as we were recently able to secure licence from the Bank of Industry to finance SMEs; these are few areas the bank has been participating in the financial sector of Nigeria.

“There are three ways in which the institution makes its income and it includes trading as we buy assets, we put a mark up and sell and whatever profit we earn while selling, then we have gained.

“Secondly, we do joint business with customers and whatever profit we generate from the business we share it equally with the customer we did the business with; and thirdly, we go in to leasing arrangement where the customer or the leasee will own the asset at the end.”

Source: By Maryam Ahmadu-Suka

Housing deficit: N16trn from CBN, PenCom, others to boost sector

With a whopping N16 trillion from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Pension Scheme, Mortgage institutions and other related financial services organisations, Nigeria’s housing sector is set to receive a boost.

This was as efforts are being made to allow pension contributors to access 25 per cent of the savings in their respective Retirement Savings Accounts(RSAs) for mortgage finance. In order to facilitate this, the National Pension Commission is currently discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mortgage Firms, and other relevant stakeholders, to fine tune a guideline that will regulate this initiative.

 

When finally released, it will facilitate access to home ownership by pension contributors as well as bridge the housing deficit in the country. The Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 already provides that a Pension Fund Administrator(PFA) may, subject to guidelines issued by PenCom, apply a percentage of pension fund assets in the retirement savings account towards payment of equity contribution for payment of residential mortgage by an RSA holder. 

The Commission is currently working with CBN and other stakeholders in the mortgage sector to  develop appropriate Guidelines. The guidelines are expected to be issued this year to allow Contributors to access and utilise part of their RSA balances towards equity contribution in respect of home ownership mortgages. If this is done, it will be a boost to the Real Estate market and equally contribute to socio-economic development of the country. 

While commenting on the housing deficit in the country, the Chairman, Petra Real Estate Investment Club, Mr. Emmanuel A. Oyewole, said, the government is not doing much to address the housing deficits in the country as experts have put Nigeria’s housing deficits at 17 million units. Unfortunately, the figure has surged since as there have not been a corresponding increase in supply to the growing population.

While this provision is already in the guideline regulating the pension scheme in the country, the regulator is now working on implementation of this section by dialoguing with relevant stakeholders to make this a reality. When the initiative kickstarts, the intending beneficiaries are expected to make formal application to their respective PFAs, while such contributors are only allowed  to access a maximum of 25 per cent of the RSA balance as equity contribution for a mortgage loan even though a contributor, can only access this mortgage finance only once in a lifetime.

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo had earlier forecast that the housing deficit in the country has continued to rise. He noted that the injection of the money would go a long way couple with other policies aimed for the sector to reduce the deficits.“The situation is worst in the cities where demographic distribution averages 15 per cent for high income earners, 25 per cent for middle income earners and 60 per cent for the low income earners where as the available trend in the provision of housing units, by both public and private organisations are unfortunately 70 per cent, 20 per cent and 10 per cent in favour of high, middle and low income earners respectively,“ he stated.

Source: Sunnews

Pension Fund hits N8.67trn, says PENCOM

he total assets of pension fund with the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) is N8.67 trillion this year, PENCOM has said assuring that the fund is intact and very safe.

The Acting Director General of PENCOM, Mrs Aisha Dahir-Umar, made the disclosure, yesterday in Akure, the Ondo State capital during the 2019 First Quarter Consultative Forum for states.

Represented by the Head of States Operations Department of the commission, Dr. Dan Ndackson, Dahir-Umar maintained that since the commencement of the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS), it has become a veritable tool for federal and state governments for accessing bonds for developmental purposes.

She said since the existence of the scheme in the past 14 years, the commission has never been found wanting or missing any kobo.

She said since the inaugural forum in 2014, many states have made tremendous progress towards adopting the CPS.

“The essence of this forum is to discuss issues associated with the implementation of contributory pension scheme in states. So we want to tell Nigerians today that pension fund assets are safe,” she said.

Declaring the forum open, Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said pension scheme occupies a strategic position in economic development.

He said it was not only an essential component of social security but also a veritable tool for nation building.

Source: Dailytrust

CBN crashes interest rate to 13.5%

Businessmen in Nigeria can heave a sigh of relief as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 14% to 13.5%, the first reduction since 2016.

Announcing the slight drop in interest rate at a media briefing after the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in Abuja, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele said the reduction would also manage investor sentiments in terms of capital inflows.

The committee, which holds a meeting once in three months, first set the benchmark interest rate at 14% in July 2016 to combat inflation and improve investor attitudes towards bringing in new capital. The country was in a recession at that time.

Simply put, the monetary policy rate is the baseline interest rate in an economy.

Every other interest rate used within an economy is built on the MPR.

At its January meeting, the committee had said that the chances of loosening were remote although it said tightening would “result in the loss of the gains so far achieved.”

Source: SunNewsOnline

FGN Securities Gulp 73.09% Pension Assets

The Federal Government’s securities is said to have swallowed over 73.09per cent or N6.20 trillion of N8.64 trillion pension assets as at the end of December 2018, the National Pension Commission (PenCom)  has said.

Data obtained from PenCom stated that 73.09 per cent of the pension funds had been invested in the Federal Government of Nigeria’s securities by the Pension fund Administrators (PFAs) within the period under review.

Investments in FGN securities include: N4.53 trillion amounting to 52.49 per cent in Bonds; N1.67 trillion in Treasury Bills (19.37 per cent); N11.57 billion in Agency Bonds (NMRC & FMBN), (0.13 per cent); N86.54 billion in Sukku (1.00 per cent) and N7.23 billion in Green bonds, (0.08 per cent).

PenCom noted that the number of Retirement Savings Accounts (RSAs) holders at the period was 8.41 million, which consist, 5.93 million males, 2.47 million females from the public and private sectors.

It stated that N606.19 billion, which is 7.02 per cent of the funds, was invested in domestic ordinary shares; while N55.86 billion, amounting to 0.65 per cent in foreign ordinary shares.

The pension industry regulator maintained that pension operators invested N138.71 billion (1.61 per cent) in State Government’s Securities; Corporate bonds got N461.16 billion (5.34 per cent); Corporate Infrastructure bonds, received N7.52 billion, (0.09 per cent); Supra-National Bonds got N6.91 billion (0.08 per cent); commercial papers, N82.81 billion (0.96 per cent); Banks, N626.33 billion (7.25 per cent).

Others are, Reits, N15.54 billion, (0.18 per cent) Foreign Money Market Securities, N3.21 billion, (0.04 per cent); private equity fund, N31.35 billion, (0.36 per cent), Real Estate Properties, N229.71 billion, (2.66 per cent); infrastructure funds, N18.51 billion, (0.21 per cent) and cash & other assets, N32.32 billion, (0.37 per cent).

Source: Independent

Focus shifts to interest rate as banks intensify loan buying

Deposit money banks (DMBs) in Nigeria have intensified competition to acquire retail and corporate customers following a strategic focus around loan refinancing.

The banks are making reasonable efforts at acquiring the loan liabilities of target prospects from other banks, with an offer for discounted interest rates.

Expectedly, banks making the bold move are majorly those that are reasonably liquid to take such risks for an enhanced customer base. They cut across the tier-1 and tier-2 lenders.

BusinessDay learnt these banks meet both large and small corporates as well as individuals with various categories of existing loans, preferably the soft loans offered to salary earners. Very simply, their targets are the salary accounts of the prospects.

A director in one of the tier-1 banks told BusinessDay on the phone that the strategy is an opportunity for collection and credibility.

The director explained that banks target certain names with credibility and also look at the entire value chain of distributors and staff of a company.
The Central Bank of Nigeria’s latest publication of the applicable rates for each of the DMBs as at June 22, 2018 shows that banks charge between 4.20 percent and 20.5 percent for prime lending and between 20.4 percent and 41.5 percent for max lending.

Total value of credit allocated to the private sector of the economy by the banks stood at N15.13 trillion as at the fourth quarter (Q4) 2018, a decline of N455 billion from N15.58 trillion at the end of the third quarter (Q3) 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The banks that are liquid target customers of cash-strapped banks with incentives in form of lower interest rates and afterwards, restructure the loans.

“This is a form of loan refinancing. It makes a business sense where customers have loans with high interest rates which they contracted in periods of high interest rates,” said Taiwo Oyedele, head, tax and regulatory services, PwC.

The CBN has kept its monetary policy rate (MPR) at 14 percent since July 2016, when it lifted the rate by 200 bps.

The regulator has also kept unchanged the liquidity ratio at 30 percent, cash reserve ratio at 22.5 percent and +200/-500 basis point asymmetric corridor around the MPR.

“Now that rates are trending downward, a bank can refinance such loans at a lower rate and still make money in the process. Overall, it is a reflection of the intense competition in the sector which is good for customers and the economy in general,” Oyedele said.

The aggressive loan push by banks has further intensified following the continued drop in Nigerian Treasury Bills yield.

Ayodele Akinwunmi, head of research, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, said banks offering lower rates to customers is a market strategy.

On the implication of the development on the banking industry, Akinwunmi said if the rates continue to drop, interest income of the banking sector will drop. Income of banks consists of about 70 percent of their loan.

In the week ended March 1, increased foreign investor appetite in emerging markets, sustained low frequency of Open Market Operations (OMO) auctions and buoyant liquidity compressed yields by 122bps W-o-W across tenors in the Treasury Bills (“T-Bills”) secondary market to 13.0 percent, from 14.2 percent the previous week, Afrinvest Securities Limited said in a report.

Source: BusinessDayNg

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