The banking industry saw a 13.6 percent MoM (month on month) increase in bad loans to N2.76 trillion in August 2021, and the Central Bank of Nigeria attributed the increase to the rising loan defaults in the country’s construction sector.
The construction industry is touted to be under intense pressure due to the rise in the prices of building materials.
The Central Bank of Nigeria said this in its August Economic Report, stating that the NPL (Non-Performing Loans) ratio of the banking industry went up to six percent in August, one percentage point more than the five percent regulatory limit.
According to data from the apex bank, the total credit to the domestic economy went up by 2.2 percent to reach N46 trillion in August, from the N44.99 trillion recorded in July. This suggests that the NPL (bad loans) went up to N2.76 trillion in August from N2.43 trillion seen in July, a N330 billion or 13.6 percent increase.
The big rise in NPLs was explained by the CBN as a result of increased loan defaults in the construction sector, which accounted for about 4.7 percent or N905 billion of credit owed to other sectors in August, going up from 4.6 percent of N879 billion back in July.
The apex bank said the increase in the construction sector’s non-performing loans was due to the increase in process of building materials, which made it more difficult for contractors to meet their debt obligations.
Regarding this development, the Managing Director of Built2Suit Limited – a firm of architects – Ibukun Odu, said that apart from the increase in loan defaults, construction firms may have to turn to layoffs in order to reduce overhead cost.
Odu lauded the correctness of the CBN report, stating that a lot of contractors were finding the period extremely difficult. Odu stated that all the main components have witnessed increases of between 75 – 90 percent. He mentioned cement, which used to be sold at N2500 but is now sold between N4000 and N4200.
Report Foresees Reduced Government Borrowing, Increased Private Sector Credit
A recent economic report indicates a shift in credit dynamics within the Nigerian economy.
The projection anticipates a decrease in government borrowing while expecting private sector credit to rise in the coming months.
This shift is driven by the government’s goal of achieving higher economic growth primarily through the private sector.
The report suggests that credit to the government is poised to decline due to the expected significant reduction in fiscal deficits following the removal of fuel subsidies.
In contrast, credit to the private sector is predicted to increase, aligning with the government’s strategy to foster growth with strong private sector participation.
Additionally, the report highlights a drop in borrowing by farmers for agricultural cultivation. Borrowing in this sector declined from N1.85 trillion in January to N1.83 trillion in June, indicating a reduction in the appetite for loans among farmers.
Salihu Imam, the Chairman of an agricultural association, emphasized the importance of reducing lending costs in order to stimulate agricultural expansion and enhance food security in the nation.
He described affordable loans as a necessity for the growth of the agricultural sector, essential for the well-being of the nation.
Imam emphasized that providing affordable loans represents an investment in Nigeria’s collective future, contributing to both food security and economic stability.
The report’s projection, along with the agricultural sector’s call for reduced lending costs, underscores the evolving economic landscape and the potential for positive changes in credit dynamics.
Nigeria Secures $3.45 Billion ‘Zero-Interest’ Loan for Vital Projects and Launches Humanitarian Fund
The Federal Executive Council of Nigeria has approved a $3.45 billion loan application to finance five crucial projects.
The projects span diverse sectors, encompassing power, renewable energy, state resource mobilization, adolescent girls’ learning and empowerment, and a women’s empowerment initiative.
The “zero-interest” loan, payable over 40 years with a 10-year grace period, is a notable move towards bolstering national development.
Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, emphasized the concessional and zero-interest financing from international entities like the World Bank and the International Development Association.
These projects are poised to accelerate progress in Nigeria’s power and renewable energy sectors, support state resource mobilization efforts, and empower adolescent girls with valuable skills.
The Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, highlighted the expansion of the adolescent girls’ initiative to 11 additional states, reinforcing the commitment to empower girls and reduce the number of out-of-school children.
The Federal Executive Council has given the green light to establish the Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Fund, aiming to raise $5 billion annually.
This flexible financing approach seeks contributions from the government, private sector, development partners, individuals, and philanthropists.
The fund will enhance Nigeria’s ability to respond to humanitarian crises swiftly, addressing the pressing issues of poverty alleviation and emergency relief.
In another significant development, the Federal Government approved a draft policy for the solid mineral sector, focusing on regulations, guidelines, and sourcing dynamics.
Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Mr. Dele Alake, underscored the importance of investing in technology to curb illegal mining, a source of banditry and insecurity in rural areas.
The government’s commitment to technological solutions is pivotal in securing Nigeria’s mining sector and fostering sustainable development.
Debt Service Surpasses Salary Payments in Nigeria’s Ambitious 2024 Budget
The Nigerian government’s 2024 fiscal plan unveils a financial landscape where servicing its mounting debt burden overshadows the allocation of salaries and pensions for its workforce.
This unexpected fiscal direction raises concerns about the nation’s long-term financial stability.
The proposed 2024 budget is a monumental financial endeavor with total expenses estimated at N26.01tn, reflecting a 19.15% increase from the previous year’s N21.83tn budget.
The key highlight is the allocation of funds with personnel and pension costs amounting to N7.78tn and debt service costs skyrocketing to N8.25tn.
These two categories combined absorb a staggering N16.03tn which is approximately 61.63% of the total budget.
What is particularly striking is that the government’s allocation for debt servicing in 2024 exceeds the budget designated for paying salaries and pensions to its employees, creating a scenario where debt obligations have overtaken the welfare of its workforce.
While personnel and pension costs have increased by 32.54% from N5.87tn in 2023, debt service costs have risen by 30.74%, posing a significant fiscal challenge for the government.
The World Bank had previously raised a red flag, highlighting that in 2022, the Nigerian government’s spending on personnel costs and debt servicing had outstripped its total revenue for the first time.
This imbalance had detrimental consequences for capital expenditures, essential for infrastructure development and economic growth.
Economists and financial experts are now expressing concerns over the mounting debt and the need for a more prudent fiscal approach.
They argue that the government should manage its resources more efficiently, cut down on the cost of governance, and focus on revenue generation to reduce the reliance on loans.
The 2024 budget assumptions include a reference crude oil price of $73.96 per barrel, an exchange rate of $700/N1, oil production at 1.78 million barrels per day, and an inflation rate of 21% with a target GDP growth rate of 3.76%.
As Nigeria grapples with this ambitious budget, it faces a delicate balancing act between servicing its debts and maintaining its public workforce, all while striving for sustainable economic growth and development.
The choices made in the coming fiscal year will profoundly influence the nation’s financial future.
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