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Bank deposits rise by 19% to N43trn

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Deposits by Nigerian banks rose by N6.92trn from N36.13trn as of the end of October 2021 to N43.05trn in the corresponding period of 2022.

This was contained in the personal statements of members of the Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Policy Committee.

The Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability Directorate, CBN, Aishah Ahmad, said, “Notably, total assets rose to N69.67trn in October 2022 from N57.3trn in October 2021, while total deposits rose to N43.05trn from N36.13trn over the same period. Total credit also increased by N5.32trn to N28.81trn between end-October 2021 and end-October 2022 with significant growth in credit to manufacturing, general commerce, and oil & gas sectors.

“The continued credit expansion particularly to output-enhancing sectors is expected to further support economic activities. However, sustained regulatory vigilance is required to mitigate any potential crystallisation of credit risk in the financial system in view of lingering macroeconomic risks.

“As anticipated, average lending rates have risen between June and October 2022, partly driven by the tight monetary policy stance of the MPC, which requires vigilance by the banks to forestall defaults and preserve asset quality.”

She said sustained implementation of the policy on GSI and effective credit risk management policies by the banks were useful in that regard, while recent initiatives of the Central Bank such as the naira redesign were expected to enhance monetary policy transmission via the banking system.

Notwithstanding the strong financial system fundamentals and satisfactory stress test results, she said, the Bank must remain vigilant and proactively manage operational, asset quality and other risks to financial system stability, especially with the challenging global economic environment.

Also, a member of the MPC, Shonubi Folashodun, said the banking system had remained resilient so far in 2022, even as it continued to grapple with the effects of a challenging macroeconomic environment on businesses.

He said, “Industry non-performing loan ratio was 4.8 per cent in October 2022 below the 5.0 per cent threshold, while industry liquidity ratio was 40.1 per cent, above the 30.0 per cent minimum level. Of note is the sustained growth in total industry deposits, credits, and assets, reflecting positive impact of various measures by the Bank.

“Industry capital adequacy, though lower at 13.4 per cent, was above the 10.0 per cent prudential minimum. Significant rise in domestic claims on private sector and the government has however pushed annualised growth of major monetary aggregate slightly above the benchmark for fiscal 2022, highlighting monetary aspect of the drivers of inflationary pressure.”

An MPC member, Robert  Asogwa, said the domestic financial sector was still resilient in November except for observed volatilities in the stock market.

He said, “The banking sector indicators are robust, similar to the position at the last MPC meeting, with non-performing loans ratio declining further from 4.9 per cent to 4.8 per cent in October 2022 and with further increases in total assets.

“Of particular interest is the addition of above N1tn in total industry deposits between September and October 2022.

“Of marginal concern, is the consistent decline in the capital adequacy ratio of the banks between June and October 2022, but this is attributed to increases in total risk-weighted assets, which for some time has been higher than the total qualifying capital.”

Money market

LCCI advocates discipline, export to sustain Naira appreciation

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LCCI advocates discipline, export to sustain Naira appreciationThe Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has emphasised the importance of maintaining discipline in the foreign exchange market to sustain the steady appreciation of the Naira.

The President and Chairman of the Council of LCCI, Mr Gabriel Idahosa, made the call in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.

Idahosa praised the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria in imposing discipline, attributing the recent Naira appreciation to curbing speculative activities.

“On the monetary side, the CBN is doing it. The primary efforts should continue to impose discipline in the foreign currency market.

“The abuses in the foreign currency market were prevalent and most of the fall in the value of the Naira in the last six months is not because there was any sudden calamity in the Nigerian economy.

“It was primarily because of very reckless speculations, that people were just speculating in the dollar, they had nothing to export, nothing to import, they were just buying the dollar for speculative reasons.

“And once the Central Bank started to impose discipline in the foreign currency market, we saw the value of the Naira rising very quickly by stopping speculation,” he said.

According to him, the strategies of the Central Bank, now, are designed to achieve a sustained discipline in the foreign currency market.

Idahosa highlighted the need to continue reducing the number of Bureau de Change operators, stressing that many operated without contributing to international trade.

He applauded the Central Bank’s move to enforce documentation and identification of buyers and sellers at BDCs, aiming to deter reckless speculation and curb illicit financial flows.

On the fiscal side, Idahosa urged President Bola Tinubu to prioritise a nationwide export drive, citing it as the key to bolstering the Naira and providing essential foreign exchange.

He emphasised the importance of fostering a culture of export among Nigerians across all scales of enterprise to reduce reliance on imports and strengthen the country’s economic resilience.

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Money market

Foreign reserves decline to $32.29bn

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The foreign reserve has depleted to $32.29 billion, which is a six-year low in the Central Bank’s course to save the naira.

This is the lowest level the reserves have been since September 25, 2017, when it was $32.28 billion.

The country’s foreign reserves declined by 6.2 percent, losing $2.6 billion since March 18, when the naira started its rebound from record-low levels against the dollar to $32.29 billion as of Monday, based on the latest available data from the CBN.

At the beginning of the month, the reserve was at $33.57 billion, then further dipped to $32.6 billion by April 12.

This comes as the CBN has attempted to save the naira through various interventions such as raising interest rates to 24.75 percent and managing foreign exchange trades.

It stepped up its intervention in the FX market with sales at both the official market and to BDC operators who sell dollars on the streets.

The apex bank, which sells $10,000 to each BDC every week, mandated them to only sell at a spread of 1.5 percent, which comes to N1,117 per US dollar.

The rate sold by the BDCs has set a defacto floor for the naira in the black market since the apex bank resumed sales to them in February.

Also, last month the CBN said it had cleared a backlog of $7 billion since the beginning of the year. That was built over the years as the central bank pegged its currency against the dollar, leading to a scarcity of foreign currency that deterred foreign portfolio investment. However, it’s unclear how much dollar debt the CBN retains on its books.

Akpan Ekpo, a professor of economics and public policy, said the CBN’s managed float system in which it is trying to ensure supply and curtail demand is not sustainable in the long term.

He said the CBN needs to be careful with how it depletes the foreign reserves as its main source is oil revenue.

“We need to manufacture non-oil goods and services, export them, and get foreign exchange and not depend on oil income,” he said.

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Money market

CBN expresses commitment to harnessing digital technologies

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The Central Bank of Nigeria says it is committed to harnessing the power of digital technologies to enhance financial inclusion.

CBN Governor, Mr Yemi Cardoso said this on Tuesday in Abuja, during a strategic institutions tour by participants of Senior Executive Course 46 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

Cardoso, who was represented by Dr Bala Bello, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, said that digital technologies would also boost productivity and create an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive.

According to him, the apex bank has already deployed robust digital technologies in driving most of its processes towards achieving optimal performance.

He said that NIPSS, as a foremost national policy think-tank, had made invaluable contributions to the socio-political and macroeconomic development of Nigeria.

“We are, therefore, not surprised at the apt and relevant choice of your research theme.

“The CBN and NIPSS have had a long-standing and robust working relationship since the establishment of the institute. This has culminated into positive mutual benefits for the two institutions.

“The CBN, on the one hand, has provided infrastructural support to the institute through construction of an auditorium and a hostel, in addition to the provision of technical support.

“On the other hand, NIPSS has supported the technical capacity of the CBN through the training of some personnel both at senior executive course level and intermediate course cadre,” he said.

The Director-General of NIPSS, Prof. Ayo Omotayo, said that the study visiting would be representing the institute in getting information from operators of the apex bank on the relevance of digital technology to developing jobs for Nigerian youths.

According to Omotayo, a lot of progress has been made globally in using digital systems to run the economy.

“The more of our activities that we can put in digital format, the more we get the opportunity of providing employment access to a whole lot of the 120 million active Nigerians.

“We at NIPSS always knock at the frontiers of knowledge, checking what is going to happen in the immediate future.

“We are working towards a system where we believe that almost every service can be delivered digitally,” he said.

The Acting Director, Monetary Policy Department of the CBN, Dr Lafi Bala Keffi, commended the NIPSS study group for its interest in the apex bank.

She urged the participants to explore the time-tested culture of NIPSS, which is to diagnose national, profer practical solutions and recommend ways of making such solutions realisable.

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