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Finance

Banks Advance N21.3tn Loans in 10 Months

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Central Bank of Nigeria

The total domestic credit from the banking sector to the economy dropped by 0.8 per cent to N21.3tn as of the end of October 2015, statistics obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria have revealed.

The CBN in its economic report for October stated that the drop in credit to the economy was a reflection of the 18.9 per cent decline in net claims on the Federal Government.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Friday, said while the total credit to the private sector experienced an increase of 1.9 per cent to N19.07tn, the credit to the Federal Government dropped by 18.9 per cent to N2.26tn.

It attributed the decline in credit to the government to a drop in bank’s holding of the government securities particularly the Nigerian Treasury Bills which fell by 10.3 per cent during the period.

It said, “At N21.34tn, aggregate credit to the domestic economy, on month-on-month basis, fell by 0.8 per cent at the end of October 2015 in contrast to the 0.6 and four per cent growth at the end of the preceding month and the corresponding period of 2014, respectively.

“The development reflected the 18.9 per cent decline in net claims on the Federal Government, which more than offset 1.9 per cent growth in claims on the private sector.

“Over the level at end of December 2014, net domestic credit, however, grew by 10.8 per cent at the end of the review period, compared with the growth of 11.7 per cent at the end of the preceding month.

“The development reflected the increase in net claims on both the Federal Government and private sector.”

The report did not provide details of where lending was channelled in the private sector but noted that growth in the key monetary aggregate decelerated during the period.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had while speaking after the recent Monetary Policy Committee meeting said the apex bank in November reduced the lending rate from 13 per cent to 11 per cent but stressed its objective of easing lending to the real sector of the economy had not been achieved.

He said the CBN would continue to adopt moral suasion to encourage the Deposit Money Banks to support financing for targeted lending to the real sector as well as agriculture, solid minerals and the Small and Medium Enterprises sectors of the economy.

He said, “The committee acknowledged the continuous liquidity surfeit in the system stemming partly from the recent growth-stimulating monetary policy measures, as well as the tendency of the banks to invest excess reserves in government securities, rather than extend credit to the needed sectors of the economy.

“To this end, the committee once again urged the deposit money banks to improve lending to the real sector, as part of their patriotic obligations to the country and enjoined the management of the bank to continue to explore ways of incentivising lending to employment and growth-generating sectors, particularly the SMEs.”

When asked if the CBN would consider forcing banks to lend to the real sector, the governor said inasmuch as the CBN would prefer that the DMBs increased their lending to the real sector, it would be practically impossible to force them to do so owing to the fact that banks were established to make profit.

He said, “Unfortunately, the DMBs are in business to make money and we cannot regulate their interest rate. And so it can be difficult to really force them to lend to a particular set of people.

“But what we can continue to do is to put in place policies that will encourage them to do so or we can continue to incentivise them by putting in place policies that will encourage them to do so.

“So it is a free market and we cannot really compel them as it is expected. We will continue to try.

“This is why at the last meeting, we reduced the Cash Reserve Requirement from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. And we then insisted that that liquidity that will be made available or that those banks can only enjoy the reduction if they introduce to the CBN projects that are targeted at the real sector such as manufacturing, agriculture and the SMEs.”

He said the apex bank remained optimistic that the banks would heed the advice and lend to the real sector.

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.

Finance

FG Borrowed $5.9B To Fight COVID-19 and Implement Budget – Minister of Finance

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Zainab Ahmed

The federal government borrowed about $5.9 billion in 2020, to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and implement its budget. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, revealed this yesterday.

A statement issued by her Special Adviser, Media and Communications, Mr. Yunusa Abdullahi, yesterday, indicated that the minister told the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) General Assembly during a webinar, that the federal government had to move quickly to save the economy.

Speaking on Nigeria’s fiscal response – short term interventions and impact on public finances, as an immediate fiscal response, Mrs. Ahmed said: “We did the following: Procured a $3.4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and about $2.5 billion in local currency from the domestic capital market to support the 2020 budget implementation), among others.”

She noted that the government then packaged a N500 billion for COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund in the 2020 revised budget, as part of a N2.3 trillion Economic Sustainability Plan.

Mrs. Ahmed said that the government had begun the process of moving the economy away from its primary dependence on oil for revenues and foreign exchange, and making steady gains in addressing infrastructure and human capital challenges before the pandemic hit the global economy.

With COVID-19, Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude oil price fell from a peak of US$72.2 per barrel on January 7, 2020 to below US$20 by April 2020.

She said, “In effect, the US$57 crude oil price benchmark approved in the 2020 budget became unrealistic triggering the need to adjust the following variables: reduction of crude oil benchmark price from US$57 per barrel to US$28 per barrel; reduction of daily crude oil production benchmark from 2.18 million barrels per day (mbpd) to 1.9 mbpd; adjustment of the official exchange rate to N360/US$1 from N305/$.”

Mrs. Ahmed revealed that part of the federal government Supplementary Budget on COVID-19 would be spent on the procurement of 29. 588 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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Banking Sector

Union Bank CEO, Godson Chukwuemeka Okonkwo Acquires 2.4 Million Shares in the Bank Ahead of Acquisition

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Union bank - Investors King

The Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank Plc, Godson Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, has purchased 2,431,917 ordinary shares of the bank, according to the latest disclosure filing from the lender.

The CEO acquired the 2,431,917 shares of Union Bank at N4.90 per share on Thursday 6th May 2021 from the floor of the Nigerian Exchange Ltd.

Okonkwo’s N11.916 million investment was after Investors King reported a possible acquisition of the bank by Zenith Bank or Access Bank following sources cited by Bloomberg.

Bloomberg said, “Atlas Mara Limited, the London Stock Exchange-listed pan-African banking group started by Mr. Bob Diamond has received a number of approaches for its 49.97 per cent holding in Lagos-based Union Bank of Nigeria.”

It also stated that Atlas Mara received interests from Nigerian and Middle Eastern lenders for its remaining assets on the continent, according to Bloomberg sources.

The sources claimed the banks in talks with Atlas Mara asked not to be identified as talks are private. But they mentioned Nigeria’s Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank as some of the banks that have so far expressed interests in acquiring Union Bank.

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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank, Access Bank, Others Express Interest in Acquiring Union Bank

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Atlas Mara - Investors King

Zenith Bank and Access Bank are some of the financial institutions in talks to acquire Atlas Mara Ltd.’s 49.97 percent stake in Union Bank Plc.

Bloomberg said, “Atlas Mara Limited, the London Stock Exchange-listed pan-African banking group started by Mr. Bob Diamond has received a number of approaches for its 49.97 per cent holding in Lagos-based Union Bank of Nigeria.”

It also stated that Atlas Mara received interests from Nigerian and Middle Eastern lenders for its remaining assets on the continent, according to Bloomberg sources.

The sources claimed the banks in talks with Atlas Mara asked not to be identified as talks are private. But they mentioned Nigeria’s Zenith Bank Plc, Access Bank Plc and Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank as some of the banks that have so far expressed interests in acquiring Union Bank.

Middle Eastern banks and private equity suitors have also shown interest, according to the people. Some potential buyers have indicated they may acquire all of Atlas Mara’s remaining assets in Africa, which would include its Zimbabwe unit, the people said.

Atlas Mara has been working with Rothschild & Co. to consider options for its Union Bank stake. No final decisions have been made, and there’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, the people said.

Representatives for Atlas Mara and Zenith Bank didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Attijariwafa Bank Managing Director Ismail Douiri and a representative for Access Bank declined to comment.

Speaking on the matter, Frontier and Sub-saharan Africa Banks’ Analyst, Renaissance Capital, Adesoji Solanke, on Thursday said this is good for Atlas Mara.

He said “Good for Atlas Mara if they’re able to exit successfully, as they’ve been selling a bunch of assets over the past year, to KCB and Access Bank respectively across different markets. Whether they get a good valuation for Union Bank is another thing.

“We don’t think it’ll be a transformational deal for Access or Zenith (Return-on-Equity dilutive for both), but could be a good way for the Middle Eastern banks to get a decent foothold in the market. We suspect getting the other private equity investor block to sell will be critical as we wouldn’t expect a strategic bank investor to desire a minority shareholding.”

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