Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins planned to help companies develop new technologies to protect consumers and avoid market crashes.
The Deputy Governor said on Friday, while fintech innovations promise to solve some present problems, they could also create new ones.
“Authorities should support innovation, but the bar will be high, especially for core financial services,” Wilkins said. “I worry that players not covered currently by regulation could become important to the system even if they never take on bank-like risks.”
Currently, the Bank of Canada is studying the concept of digital currency and how it can be used to move large amounts of money between commercial banks, and for supplying bank notes.
“Like many other central banks, we are also researching the conceptual merits of issuing electronic money ourselves,” Wilkins said. She also said it’s “highly unlikely” that a currency such as bitcoin will replace money backed by governments, and “the most that could happen is that national currencies and digital currencies coexist.”
The Deputy Governor said the apex bank is already in contact with fintech entrepreneurs. She gave more details on her statement earlier this week that the Bank of Canada is working with the nation’s largest commercial lenders, Payments Canada and the R3 consortium, a group of more than 40 banks including Barclays Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co., to better understand the mechanics of the blockchain.
“The plan is to build a rudimentary wholesale payment system to run experiments in a lab environment,” Wilkins said. “Because it cannot be used anywhere else, it is a different animal altogether from a digital currency for widespread use.”
Credit to Private Sector Rises to N33.26 Trillion in August 2021
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that credit to private sector went up by N498.6billion in August to N33.26trillion from N32.8trillion reported in July 2021.
The N33.36trillion figure announced by the CBN is a new record that was fuelled by banks, among others increased lending to real sector.
CBN in its Money and Credit Statistics for the period revealed that credit to private sector in January was N30.65trillion and dropped by 0.47 per cent to N30.5 trillion in February.
However, in March, it closed at N31.44trillion and crossed the N32.1trillion mark in April to N32.12 trillion.
In addition, the CBN reported N32.63trillion and N33.36trillion credit to private sector May and June respectively.
Analysts believe banks lending to real sector played a critical role in the recent increase in Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
An economist and Chief Executive Officer, BIC Consultancy Services, Dr Boniface Chizea said he is optimistic that banks credit to real sector, amid severe challenges are yielding positive results. According to him, “The volume of credit which seems humongous will deliver expected dividends despite perceived inhospitable investment environment. We should therefore remain confident and hopeful that desired impact must be felt if not immediately then in due course.
“We must also accept the fact that we would be challenged if we want to isolate the direct impact of the credit on the economy. So, we must remain assured that the credit is not money down the drain.”
On his part, Economist & Private Sector Advocate, Dr Muda Yusuf said the growth in credit to private sector is laudable.
He noted that the impact would depend on the sectoral spread, quality of credit, tenure of the funds and interest rate.
Yusuf said: “My guess is that a significant percentage of this have been given to large corporates, multinationals and high end medium enterprises. The CBN has done a lot in lending to agriculture, but the quality of the lending is an issue. Reports indicate high default rates in agricultural credit, especially the anchor borrowers’ scheme.
“Monetary intervention is imperative for real sector development. But it is not sufficient to guarantee the desired outcomes of growth and productivity. The context in which businesses are operating is as important as the funding, if not even more important. The totality of the investment environment must be right for sustainable real sector development to be achieved.”
He added, “Therefore, to complement the credit to the private sector, the other factors that should reckoned with include infrastructure quality, especially power, roads and railways. There are also issues around the quality of the regulatory environment, the foreign exchange policy regime, the ports situation, volatility of the naira exchange rate, the tax environment and the security situation.
“These are not things monetary intervention can solve. It takes an impactful fiscal policy intervention to fix these problems. Some of the issues border on economic reforms that need to happen. Engagements between the private sector stakeholders and policymakers is critical to achieving sustainable development of the economy.”
The Governor, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele had in his communiqué at the end of August Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting said the committee noted the improvement in lending to the real sector following the introduction of the Loans-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) in 2019.
According to him, “Industry gross credit increased by N6.63 trillion from N15.57 trillion at end-May, 2019 to N22.20 trillion at end-July, 2021. The credit growth was largely recorded in manufacturing, oil and gas and agriculture sectors.”
He expressed further that the MPC members noted the unequivocal importance of credit growth to the sustained recovery of output and the moderation in price development as supply improves.
“It thus, called on the Bank to maintain adequate surveillance on banks to ensure compliance with its extant credit policy, while ensuring that they are not unduly exposed to credit risks.
“The Committee also noted the relevance of the Bank’s suite of interventions to the overall system credit, urging its continued use to fund sectors with high employment-generating capacity,” he said.
Fitch Upgrades Bank Of Industry’s National Rating to ‘AAA(Nga)’
Fitch Ratings has upgraded Bank of Industry’s (BoI) National Long-Term Rating to ‘AAA(nga)’ from ‘AA+(nga);’ and affirmed the Nigeria-based bank’s Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B’ with a Stable Outlook.
It said the upgrade of BOI’s Long-Term National Rating of ‘AAA(nga)’ reflects the linkage between the bank and the sovereign has strengthened, as evident in the significant size of the CBN guarantees provided for BOI’s recent external funding.
The full list of rating actions shows that “BOI’s Long-Term IDR and SRF are equalised with the Long-Term IDR of the sovereign as we believe that the Nigerian authorities have a high propensity to support BOI.
Fitch said its assessment primarily reflects the following: The bank’s important and clearly defined policy role in funding economic growth in Nigeria; Its 99.9% state ownership, split between the Ministry of Finance (94.8%) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN; 5.1%); and the entirety of the bank’s wholesale funding being either provided or guaranteed by the Nigerian state. However, Fitch also views the ability of the authorities to support BOI as limited by Nigeria’s ‘B’ Long-Term IDR.
BOI is Nigeria’s primary development bank, with the mandate of financing the country’s emerging industrial sector.
The bank plays an important role in supporting government policies and in providing counter-cyclical loans since the onset of the economic crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the international rating agency, “BOI’s funding has increased substantially since March 2020, as the bank secured two large syndicated loan facilities of EUR1 billion and USD1 billion from syndicates of commercial banks and multilateral development banks, which are fully guaranteed by the CBN. The proceeds of the borrowings are swapped with the CBN, boosting its foreign-exchange (FX) reserves and providing BOI with Nigerian naira to support its developmental activities.”
“BOI’s management has indicated that this fundraising will serve to expand the bank’s lending to priority sectors. It might take BOI substantial time to channel the recently attracted funding to borrowers and as of end-1H21, 48% of BOI’s total assets were kept in liquid government bonds and cash, compared with 20% at end-2019.
Fitch says BOI maintains solid capitalisation and leverage metrics (end-1H21: equity-to-asset ratio of 19.4%), which is prudent for the bank’s exposure to the volatile operating environment.
“Profitability is not a key objective; however, BOI continues to generate reasonable returns on equity (1H21: 18% annualised) driven by healthy net interest margins and, so far, moderate loan impairment charges,” Fitch noted.
Tanzania: African Development Fund Approves $116 Million Loan to Upgrade Southern Road Corridor
The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund on Wednesday approved a loan of around $116 million to the Tanzanian government to upgrade a 160-km Mnivata-Newala-Masasi road corridor in the southern part of the country.
The Bank’s loan represents 98.71% of the project cost; the government of Tanzania will provide the remaining 1.29% in funding.
The project will upgrade the roadway, including the 84-meter Mwiti bridge, to bituminous standard. The works also have social components, including the provision of potable water, education and medical infrastructure, the establishment of cashew nut processing units, and extension of entrepreneurial training to women and youth.
The upgrade is expected to open up rural areas in the region and enhance the Mtwara Development Corridor, which links Mtwara Port and Mbamba Bay port on Lake Nyasa. Exporters, importers, small-scale cross-border traders, farmers, transporters are all expected to benefit.
“The periodic isolation of such a significant population worsens vulnerability and undermines social inclusion. Improved road connectivity would therefore build the resilience of the people and widen livelihood opportunities within the Mtwara Development Corridor and the surrounding districts,” Bank Director General for East Africa Nnenna Nwabufo said.
Overall, the five-year project will improve mobility and accessibility for about 1.1 million people in Mtwara, Tandahimba, Newala and Masasi districts and facilitate integration with neighbouring Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia.
Currently, the districts of Tandahimba and Newala, with an estimated combined population of 509,000 people, are mostly cut off, while connection with the Mtwara port area for essential supplies is severely constrained during rainy seasons due to the state of the road.
The project will advance Tanzania’s current five-year Development Plan (2021-2026) and aligns with the Bank Group’s Country Strategy Paper (2021-2025) which emphasizes sustainable infrastructure for a competitive economy and an improved private sector business environment for job creation, as well as two High-5 strategic priorities: Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
At 30 June 2021, the Bank Group’s active portfolio in Tanzania comprised 22 operations (19 public and 3 private) with a total commitment of about $2.4 billion.
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