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Experts Divergent Opinions on FG’s N2.2tn Borrowing Plan

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Economists and finance experts have expressed divergent opinions on the proposal by the Federal Government to borrow N2.2tn to finance the deficit envisaged in the 2016 Appropriation Bill tabled before the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.

For the total budget proposal of N6.08tn, the Federal Government expects N3.86tn as revenue, while the balance of N2.22tn will come from borrowing. Out of the N2.22tn to be borrowed, N1.84tn is expected to be spent on capital projects, while the rest will go into recurrent expenditure.

In a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja by its Head of Abuja Operations, Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor, the Social Integrated Development Centre (Social Action) asked the National Assembly to do Nigerians a favour by stopping the accumulation of such a huge debt.

However, a former President of the Nigerian Economic Society and Executive Director, African Centre for Shared Development Capacity Building, Prof. Olu Ajakaiye, said it was good enough that the Federal Government proposed to spend much of the debt to finance infrastructure.

Bellonwu-Okafor described loans as Greek gifts and a deathtrap for economies, especially weak and developing ones such as Nigeria’s, adding that the terms were usually steep and their conditions mostly stifling, while compromising the growth and well-being of the nation’s economy.

She called for a probe of what previous loans that had been obtained by Nigeria had been used for.

She said, “To continue in the tradition of approving loans for governments in Nigeria without first seeking and establishing an account of the huge loans acquired in the past years on behalf of the country and which have all been frittered away under very shady circumstances would be a great disservice to Nigerians by the National Assembly.

“We reiterate for the umpteenth time that if corruption and capital flight are eliminated, the innumerable leakages existing in the system blocked, tax administration made effective, the economy diversified away from burdensome dependence on oil and strict fiscal discipline established, enough resources will be garnered to fund the nation’s budget.

“The proposition by the Federal Government to borrow a staggering sum of N2.2tn to finance the nation’s 2016 fiscal budget is a glaring demonstration of insensitivity to the travails of Nigeria’s economy and citizens. Already, this is sequel to its plan to devote a colossal sum of N1.36tn to debt servicing alone in the budget.”

Bellonwu-Okafor added, “Fiscal projections as expounded in the proposed budget has revealed that the administration has no genuine intention of running a truly cost-effective government as it committed to doing in its pre-election pledges and which it superficially appeared to do with the merging of ministries, an action that has clearly translated into no concrete change in the fiscal parameters of governance in the country.

“If allowed to pass as it is, this will shoot Nigeria’s debt profile to over N15tn, with debt servicing amounting to 72 per cent of the 2016 capital budget. This sinks Nigeria further into the debt trap, while compromising the nation’s human and capital development.”

Ajakaiye, however, said there was nothing that the Federal Government could do about the N1.36tn for servicing debt that had fallen due.

He said, “It is already an obligation. Government cannot default, otherwise there will be a crisis. The fact that N1.84tn is for capital projects is good. The only thing we need to look at is the type of capital projects to be funded.”

He opined that if the right projects were funded, they would be able to generate funds that could be used to service the debt

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO): Profit After Tax Inches Slightly Higher in Q3 2021

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GTCO Commemorates Listing on Nigerian Exchange - Investors King

Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO Plc), Nigeria’s leading financial institution, grew profit after tax by 4.11 percent to N49.986 billion in the three months ended September 30, 2021.

This was slightly higher than the N48.012 billion filed in the third quarter (Q3) of 2020, according to the bank’s unaudited financial statements released on Tuesday and obtained by Investors King.

The lender’s interest income drops by 7.48 percent to N68.945 billion in the third quarter under review, down from N74.518 billion achieved in Q3 2020.

Interest expense inched slightly higher to N13.057 billion in Q3 2021, representing an increase of 5.3 percent when compared to N12.397 billion filed in the same period of 2020.

As expected, GTCO’s net interest income moderated by 10.03 percent from N62.121 billion in Q3 2020 to N55.887 billion in Q3 2021.

Net interest income after loan impairment charges stood at N54.608 billion in Q3 2021, a decline of 7.04 percent from N58.745 billion recorded in Q3 20210.

However, GTCO was able to plug further decline with a 67.39 percent increase in fee and commission income. The bank realised N18.318 billion in fee and commission income in Q3 2021, up from N10.944 billion charged in Q3 2020.

Fee and commission expense increased slightly to N3.343 billion in the quarter under review, up from N2.239 billion in Q3 2020.

The bank grew net fee and commission income by 72.07 percent to N14.976 billion in Q3 2021 from N8.704 billion achieved in Q3 2020.

Also, the bank’s net gains on financial instruments classified as held for trading dipped slightly to N8.048 billion in Q3 2021. While other income improved from N11.157 billion in Q3 2020 to N15.283 billion in Q3 2021.

Profit before income tax grew slightly by 2.11 percent to N58.852 billion in Q3 2021 from N57.638 billion in Q3 2020. The bank paid N8.866 billion in taxes in the period under review.

GTCO loses N9.491 billion to forex differential in the third quarter but also made N2.847 billion due to forex differential to take its total comprehensive income for the quarter N44.618 billion.

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BUA Cement Grows Profit After Tax by 20 Percent to N22.5 Billion in Q3 2021

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BUA Cement Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading cement manufacturers, grew profit after tax by 20.06 percent to N22.510 billion in the third quarter (Q3) ended September 30, 2021.

This represents a 20.06 percent or N3.762 billion growth from N18.747 billion recorded in the third quarter of 2020.

In the company’s unaudited financial statements released on Tuesday and obtained by Investors King, revenue grew by 13.27 percent to N62.627 billion in the quarter under review, up from N55.288 billion achieved in the corresponding quarter of 2020.

As expected, cost of sales inched higher to N33.497 billion in Q3 2021, a 8.9 percent increase from N30.751 billion achieved in Q3 2020.

Gross profit stood at N29.130 billion while operating profit improved by 16.79 percent to N25.168 billion in the quarter under review from N21.548 billion filed in the same quarter of 2021.

BUA Cement’s net finance costs improved tremendously to N225.047 million in Q3 2021 from N1.229 billion posted in the same period of 2020.

Profit before income tax appreciated by 22.22 percent N20.264 billion in Q3 2020 to N24.766 billion in Q3 2021. The leading cement manufacturer paid N2.256 billion in income tax in the period under review.

Earnings per share grew from 55 kobo in Q3 2020 to 66 kobo Q3 2021.

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99 Percent of Bank Account Holders in Nigeria Have Less Than N500,000 in Savings – NDIC

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In another way to validate Nigeria’s rising unemployment rate and weak household income, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has said 99.4 percent of all the bank accounts in Nigeria have less than the N500,000 Maximum Insured Limit (MIL) of the corporation.

Mr. Bello Hassan, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, NDIC, disclosed this in a workshop organised for Finance Correspondents and Business editors.

The MD and Chief Executive stated this against the concerns over the adequacy of the corporation’s maximum coverage limit of N500,000 per depositor, merchant and, non-interest bank, primary mortgage bank and mobile money operator, as well as N200,000 per depositor per microfinance bank.

Hassan said: “I need to reiterate that, as it is today, these limits are not only adequate, they are also consistent with the extant provisions and recommendations of the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) in its Core Principle for Effective Deposit Insurance System on the determination of coverage limits.

“The IADI Core Principle No. 8 on coverage limits specifically requires that the thresholds should be limited, credible with the capacity to fully cover substantial majority of bank depositors while the rest remain exposed to ensure market discipline. Deposit insurance coverage should also be consistent with the deposit insurance system’s public policy objective.

“In addition, the coverage limits are not designed to be static but subject periodic reviews to ensure that they are consistent with the public policy objectives of the Deposit Insurance System. The Corporation successfully reviewed upward the coverage limits from N50,000 at inception in 1989 to N200,000 in 2006 and N500,000 in 2010.

“In the same vein, the Corporation invites you to note that in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the total number of accounts in the deposit money banks stood at 83.0 million; 99.1million; 112.0 million and 128.4 million respectively. Out of these numbers, the N500,000 coverage limit fully covered 99.4%; 97.6%; 97.5% and 97.6% of accounts, respectively. What these figures entail is that only less than 3% of accounts/depositors are not fully covered by the prevailing coverage limits.

“The implication of this is that in the event of failure of a bank, above 97% of depositors would be fully covered by the Corporation.

“From the foregoing statistics, it could be observed that the Corporation’s deposit insurance coverage limits are not only adequate but robust enough to engender confidence in our banking system.”

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