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Credit to Private Sector Rises to N33.26 Trillion in August 2021

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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.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Federal Government Spends $1.12 Billion on Foreign Debt Servicing in Q1 2024

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The Federal Government has disclosed that it pays $1.12 billion to service foreign debts in the first quarter of 2024 alone.

This amount shows the escalating burden of external debt on the nation’s fiscal health.

Data gleaned from the international payment segment of the Central Bank of Nigeria website reveals a steady upward trajectory in debt service payments, both over the past few years and within the first quarter of 2024.

When this is compared to the same period in 2023, debt servicing rose by 39.7 percent in Q1, 2024.

The breakdown of the debt service payments paints a picture of fluctuating yet consistently high expenditure.

January 2024 commenced with an imposing debt servicing obligation of $560.52 million, a stark contrast to the $112.35 million recorded in January 2023.

While February 2024 witnessed a moderation in debt servicing payments to $283.22 million and March 2024 saw a further decrease to $276.17 million.

Alarmingly, approximately 70 percent of Nigeria’s dollar payments were allocated to service external debts during the first quarter of 2024.

Out of the total outflows amounting to $1.61 billion, a substantial $1.12 billion was directed towards debt servicing, significantly surpassing the corresponding figure of 49 percent in Q1 2023.

The depletion of foreign exchange reserves, which experienced a recent one-month dip streak has been attributed primarily to debt repayments and other financial obligations rather than efforts to defend the naira, according to CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso.

The World Bank has expressed profound concern over the escalating debt service burdens facing developing countries globally, emphasizing the urgent need for coordinated action to avert a widespread financial crisis.

With record-level debt and soaring interest rates, many developing nations, including Nigeria, face an increasingly precarious economic path, fraught with challenges regarding resource allocation and financial stability.

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has previously disclosed that Nigeria incurred a debt service of $3.5 billion for its external loans in 2023, marking a 55 percent increase from the previous year.

This worrisome trend underscores the pressing need for robust fiscal management and prudent debt repayment strategies to safeguard Nigeria’s financial stability and foster sustainable economic growth.

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IMF Gives Nod as Congo Inches Closer to Historic Loan Program Completion

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) received a positive review from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday in a crucial step toward completing its first-ever IMF loan program.

Following the completion of the sixth and final review in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, IMF staff are set to recommend to the executive board the approval of the last disbursement of Congo’s three-year $1.5 billion extended credit facility.

This development positions Congo on the brink of achieving a milestone in its financial history.

Despite facing fiscal pressures exacerbated by ongoing conflict in the eastern regions and the recent elections in December 2023, the IMF lauded Congo’s overall performance as “generally positive”.

The country’s economy heavily relies on mineral exports, particularly copper and cobalt, essential components in electric vehicle batteries.

According to the IMF, Congo’s economy exhibited robust growth, expanding by 8.3% last year, fueled largely by its ascent to become the world’s second-largest copper producer.

However, persistent insecurity in eastern Congo, attributed to the activities of over 100 armed groups vying for control over resources and political representation, has hindered the nation’s economic progress.

The positive assessment by the IMF underscores Congo’s achievements in enhancing its economic fundamentals, including an increase in reserves, which reached $5.5 billion by the end of 2023, equivalent to approximately two months of imports.

Despite these gains, challenges remain, with high inflation rates hovering around 24% at the close of last year.

The IMF emphasized the necessity of enacting a new budget law following the renegotiation of a minerals-for-infrastructure contract with China. Under the revised terms, Congo is slated to receive $324 million annually in development financing backed by revenue from a copper and cobalt joint venture.

Looking ahead, the IMF’s executive board is anticipated to deliberate on the staff recommendation in July. If approved, the disbursement of approximately $200 million will fortify Congo’s international reserves, providing a crucial buffer against economic volatility.

Also, Congo’s government intends to seek a new Extended Credit Facility (ECF) from the IMF, signaling its commitment to ongoing economic reforms and sustainable growth.

The IMF’s endorsement represents a significant validation of Congo’s economic trajectory and underscores the nation’s efforts to navigate complex challenges while advancing towards financial stability and prosperity.

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Ghana’s $20 Billion Debt Restructuring Hangs in the Balance Amid LGBTQ Legal Challenge

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Ghana's Parliament

Ghana’s Supreme Court is set to commence hearings on a case that threatens the country’s $20 billion debt restructuring deal while simultaneously testing the World Bank’s commitment to LGBTQ rights support.

At the heart of the legal battle is a challenge to legislation that seeks to criminalize LGBTQ identities in Ghana.

The contentious law not only proposes severe penalties for individuals identifying as LGBTQ but also threatens punishment for those who fail to report individuals to the authorities, including family members, co-workers, and teachers.

If the Supreme Court upholds the legislation, Ghana risks not only perpetuating discrimination but also jeopardizing crucial financial support from international institutions, including the World Bank.

The implications extend beyond Ghana’s borders, potentially setting a precedent for how the World Bank engages with issues of LGBTQ rights and human rights more broadly across the globe.

The stakes are high for Ghana’s economy, which has been grappling with a heavy debt burden. The leaked memo from the finance ministry in April warned that endorsing the legislation could endanger approximately $3.8 billion of World Bank funding over the next five to six years.

Furthermore, it could derail a $3 billion bailout program from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and hamper efforts to restructure the country’s $20 billion of external liabilities.

The legal challenge comes amidst a broader debate about the balance between national sovereignty, international lending standards, and human rights. The World Bank, a significant source of development finance for Ghana, finds itself caught in a delicate position.

While it has historically emphasized non-discrimination and social standards in its lending practices, it also faces pressure to respect the sovereignty of the countries it engages with.

Ghana’s debt restructuring and economic recovery efforts hinge on continued support from international financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF.

However, the outcome of the Supreme Court case could complicate these efforts, potentially leading to a withdrawal of financial assistance and further economic instability.

The situation underscores the complexities of navigating the intersection of economic development, human rights, and national sovereignty.

As Ghana’s Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on the LGBTQ legislation, the outcome of the case remains uncertain, leaving both advocates for LGBTQ rights and supporters of Ghana’s debt restructuring deal anxiously awaiting a decision that could shape the country’s future trajectory.

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