The 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory grew their external debts by $1.37bn (N270bn at the current interbank exchange rate of N197 to a dollar) in five years, investigation has shown.
Statistics obtained from the Debt Management Office on Sunday showed that the external indebtedness of the subnational governments as of December 31, 2010 stood at $2bn.
However, by December 31, 2015, the indebtedness of the states and the FCT to external creditors had grown to $3.37bn. This shows that the subnational governments’ external debts rose by 68.44 per cent in the five-year period.
The Punch had exclusively reported last week that the debt profile of the entire nation rose by N1.2tn in one year.
Some states, over the period, maintained their positions on top of the borrowers’ club, while others jumped on the list.
Lagos State maintained the top position within the period. In 2010, it owed external creditors $400.59m. However, by December 2015, the debt had climbed to $1.207bn.
This means that within the period, the Lagos State Government grew its external debt by $807.31m. This reflects a growth rate of 201.53 per cent. The state holds 35.84 per cent of the country’s subnational external debts.
The external debt of Kaduna State stood at $157.36m by December 31, 2010; making it to occupy the second position on the list of the most externally indebted states of the federation.
By the end of December 2015, the state still maintained the second position with a total of $226.37m. This means that within the period, the state’s external debt rose by $69.01m, reflecting 43.86 per cent increase.
With an external debt of $41.19m in 2010, Edo State was not among the most indebted in the country. However, by the end of December 2015, the state’s external debt profile had leapt to $168.19m, showing a difference of $127m. This means that the state’s external debt rose by 308.34 per cent within the five-year period.
Cross River State owed external creditors $110.91m as of December 31, 2010. By the end of 2015, the figure had risen to $136.4m. This shows an increase of $25.5m, or 22.99 per cent.
Ogun State had an external debt of $81.64m as of December 31, 2010. By the end of last year, it had risen to $103.33m. This reflects an increase of $21.68m or 26.56 per cent.
Katsina and Oyo states were among the most externally indebted states in the country in 2010, but by the end of December 2015, they had reduced their exposure to foreign debts although they remained among the most exposed states.
While Katsina State’s external debt went down from $81.14m to $72.15m; Oyo State’s was reduced from $87.43m to $66.75m.
Among the states least exposed to foreign debts by the end of December 2015 are Taraba, $22.93m; Borno, $23.19m; Plateau, $30.46m; Kogi, $33.63m; and Jigawa, $34.08m.
Farmers Are Refusing To Pay Back Loans – CBN Cries Out
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has cried out over the refusal of the majority of farmers who benefited from the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to repay their loans.
CBN Development Finance Officer, Mr Sadeeq Ajayi revealed this at the Agribusiness Innovation Clinic.
He claimed that the majority of the beneficiaries regard the loan as their part of the national cake in his speech entitled Fostering Innovation and Collaboration Across the Agricultural Value Chain, which was organized by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN).
He urged farmers who had delayed their agricultural loans to repay them, claiming that the CBN’s failure to retrieve the loans from defaulting farmers had jeopardized the plan and prohibited other farmers from using it.
“While the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme had recorded some level of success, the failure of farmers to repay the loans has, however, been a major setback.
“Many of the farmers refused to pay back their loans due to the misconception that since CBN is the lender, the loan is a ‘national cake’ and they do not have to pay back what they consider theirs as citizens.
“This attitude has made it difficult for other farmers, who also want to access the loan, to benefit from the scheme,” he said.
In 2021, about 2.85 million farmers benefitted from the Anchor Borrowers Programme. Investors King gathered that N554.63bn was disbursed, of which N61.02bn was allocated to 359,370 dry season farmers.
In its October monthly report, the CBN also revealed that the Anchor Borrowers Program disbursed N1.9 billion to 2,521 farmers to cultivate 8,963 hectares of land through three participating financial institutions.
Cassava, cotton, fish, groundnut, maize, poultry, rice, soya beans, wheat, cattle, sorghum, ginger, castor seed, sesame, tomato, cocoa, yellow pepper, oil palm, cowpea, and onion were among the crops cultivated on 3,097,834 hectares, according to the report.
ABP is an agricultural loan scheme launched by the federal government in 2015 through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide loans (in kind and cash) to smallholder farmers in order to increase agricultural production, create jobs, and reduce food import bills in order to conserve foreign reserves.
MTN Nigeria’s MoMo Formally Commences Operation
MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank operations, today, 19th May, 2022
MTN Nigeria’s subsidiary company, MoMo has commenced a full commercial Payment Service Bank (PSB) operations, today, 19th May, 2022.
This comes after a successful trial that began on May 16, 2022, to commemorate the start of MTN’s GSM operations on May 16, 2001, and MTN’s listing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited on May 16, 2019.
Investors King had reported the CBN’s approval of this process some months back stating; “This is the first step in the process towards a final approval, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions as stipulated by the CBN. The decision to issue a final approval is firmly within the regulatory purview of the CBN and we respect their right and judgment in that regard.
“MTN Nigeria affirms its commitment towards the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and continues to explore means whereby it can contribute to its fulfillment…”
MoMo PSB is determined to enable millions of Nigerians to access a broad range of financial service products. With an expansive agent network of over 166,000 active agents and digitized partnership infrastructure, MoMo PSB will continue to expand its agent network in order to serve Nigerians across the country and eliminate friction from routine transactions by digitizing cash payments.
Customers can open a MoMo wallet, send money to any phone number in the country, and pay their bills by dialing *671# from any network.
Furthermore, MoMo wallets will allow Nigerians in the Diaspora to send money to any phone number in the country in the future, a crucial feature considering Nigeria’s position as the top recipient of remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are grateful to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for their support and guidance through the process,” said Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria. “This is an important milestone for MTN Nigeria in our mission to support the government’s drive towards financial inclusion in Nigeria.
Not just for those in urban centers and markets, but also people in the rural and remote areas of the country who remain excluded from the financial system,” he added.
MoMo PSB CEO, Usoro Usoro said: “Providing easy to use, accessible and affordable financial services to all Nigerians is essential to executing the CBN’s financial inclusion strategy and the digital inclusion agenda of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. We look forward to playing our part and are excited about the opportunities to partner with relevant institutions across various sectors to co-create and expand access nationwide.”
CBN Issues Directive For Open Banking to Improve Financial Services
In an effort to stimulate innovation and widen the range of financial products and services available to banks’ customers, the apex regulatory bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has established the legal framework for Open Banking in Nigeria.
This was revealed in a circular titled ‘Operational guidelines for open banking in Nigeria’ which was obtained by Investors King.
The Regulatory Framework for Open Banking in Nigeria, according to the CBN, establishes standards for data sharing across the banking and payments systems in order to stimulate innovation and expand the range of financial products and services available to bank customers.
According to the CBN, the financial sector data guideline would allow clients to access innovative financial products and services.
The Apex bank said: “Open banking recognises the ownership and control of data by customers of financial and non-financial services, and their right to grant authorisations to service providers to access innovative financial products and services. This is anticipated to drive competition and improve access to banking and payments services”.
The CBN also added that participants in open banking shall adhere strictly to security standards when accessing and storing data, and shall be subject to minimum privacy standards, operational standards, risk management standards and customer experience standards as prescribed by the Bank.
According to the CBN, any organization with customer data that may be transferred with other businesses in order to deliver innovative financial services within Nigeria is eligible to participate in the Open Banking ecosystem.
Open banking is a banking practice in which banks and non-bank financial organizations provide third-party financial service providers open access to customer banking, transaction, and other financial data via application programming interfaces (APIs).
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