The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has increased interest rates on all its intervention loans by 4% from 5% to 9% per annum to ease the nation’s record high inflation rate.
Chibuzo Efobi, director of financial policy and regulations department of the CBN, disclosed in a circular to all banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) dated August 17, 2022.
CBN had reduced interest rates on intervention loans from 9% to 5% per annum in the first quarter of 2020 to help curtail the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and the Nigerian economy at large.
However, the nation’s almost 20% inflation rate despite efforts to halt price increase has forced CBN to start mopping currency in circulation. One of the initiatives introduced in the last two months was to return interest on intervention loans.
This was announced just two days after the apex bank reviewed upward the minimum interest rate payable on savings deposits from 0.15% to 4.2%, 30% of the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR).
In the last two months, the CBN has risen the interest rate by 250 basis points to 14%, increase interest on intervention loans and raised minimum interest rate on savings deposits to contain inflationary pressure.
Nigeria’s inflation rose to 19.6% in the month of July as the value of the Nigerian Naira took a hit against global currency amid rising demand for the United States Dollar in an economy that depends on imports for most of its consumption.
This pushed prices of imported goods or locally made goods with imported items to a record-high as businesses were forced pass to increase in cost to final consumers.
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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