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Foreign Firms Repatriate $5.86 Billion from Nigerian Economy in 6 Months

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has revealed that foreign firms repatriated $5.86 billion from the Nigerian economy during the period between October 2022 and March 2023.

This disclosure comes from the bank’s latest ‘Economic Report, First Quarter 2023.’

The majority of these repatriated funds, approximately $5.13 billion, took the form of dividends paid to foreign investors.

However, this surge in dividend payments to non-residents has led to an expansion of the deficit in the primary income account, which reached $2.69 billion in Q1 2023, up from $2.26 billion in Q4 2022, according to the report.

The primary income account encompasses the compensation of employees and investment income. As the Quarterly Statistical Bulletin (Volume 11, Number 3, September 2022) explains, investment income includes profits, interest, dividends, royalties, and other income received by or paid to both direct and portfolio investors.

It can also comprise interest and commitment charges on loans (Other Investment Income).

Breaking down these figures, the Central Bank stated that the primary income account deficit expanded by 18.7%, largely due to a 34.9% increase in investment income payments to $3.09 billion, up from $2.77 billion in 2022Q4.

Direct investment income in the form of dividends saw a 12.1% increase to $2.71 billion, compared to $2.42 billion in the previous quarter.

Similarly, interest payments on portfolio investments rose to $0.09 billion, up from $0.05 billion in 2022Q4, while interest earnings on reserve assets increased by 35.7% to $0.20 billion, up from $0.15 billion in 2022Q4.

In contrast, interest payments on loans declined slightly by 0.7% to $0.30 billion.

The compensation of employees’ account, on the other hand, remained in a surplus position, rising by 6.2% to $0.06 billion in comparison to the previous quarter.

A 2019 report titled ‘Current Account Balance and Economic Growth in Nigeria: An Empirical Investigation’ highlights that the primary income account has consistently shown a deficit due to increased debt service payments and repatriation of dividends, income, and profits by foreign-owned companies.

This outflow of funds has been a hindrance to the development of the Nigerian economy, diverting foreign exchange resources that could be used for growth and development.

The report notes that profits that should be reinvested for economic growth are being sent overseas by foreign-owned companies operating in Nigeria.

In recent years, there has been a reduction in the net deficit in the income account due to lower outpayments of dividends and distributed branch profit and other interest payments.

A recent report highlighted that foreign airlines managed to repatriate $4.66 billion from Nigeria through ticket sales over 15 months.

However, these airlines still faced challenges in accessing their funds due to the scarcity of foreign exchange supply in the country.

President Bola Tinubu, in his inaugural address, pledged to address these issues, stating, “I have a message for our investors, local and foreign: our government shall review all their complaints about multiple taxation and various anti-investment inhibitions. We shall ensure that investors and foreign businesses repatriate their hard-earned dividends and profits home.”

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Banking Sector

Fidelity Bank Plc Promotes 11% of Staff Following Record Financial Performance

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Leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc has announced the promotion of 11% of its workforce, a testament to the exceptional performance and dedication of its employees.

This significant move follows the release of the bank’s 2023 full year Audited Financial Statements, which reported an impressive 131.5 percent growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) to N124.26 billion.

The recent promotions span every level within the bank, reflecting Fidelity Bank Plc’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding excellence across its entire organization.

This strategic initiative has garnered positive reactions from staff members, who see it as a validation of their hard work and contribution to the bank’s remarkable financial achievements.

In addition to the promotions, Fidelity Bank Plc has also concluded arrangements to raise a total of N127.1 billion through a Rights Issue to existing shareholders and a Public Offer. This move is part of the bank’s broader strategy to strengthen its capital base, support future growth, and enhance shareholder value.

Fidelity Bank Plc’s impressive financial performance and the subsequent employee promotions highlight the bank’s robust operational strategy and its commitment to fostering a rewarding work environment. By investing in its people and ensuring their career growth, the bank continues to build a motivated and high-performing workforce.

Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8.5 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.

The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.

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Finance

Nigeria to Receive $2.25 Billion from World Bank for Economic Growth

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The World Bank has approved a $2.25 billion funding package aimed at stabilizing the economy and assisting the most vulnerable segments of the population.

The Washington-based lender announced this approval on Thursday.

The fresh infusion of capital is designed to bolster Nigeria’s efforts to stabilize its economy, which has been plagued by years of foreign-exchange shortages and economic instability.

The funding will also focus on enhancing non-oil revenue streams and safeguarding oil revenues to ensure fiscal sustainability.

This, in turn, will help deliver quality public services and support the poor and economically at-risk communities.

Ousmane Diagana, the World Bank’s Vice President for Western and Central Africa, emphasized the importance of this financing package.

“Nigeria’s concerted efforts to implement far-reaching macro-fiscal reforms place it on a new path which can stabilize its economy and lift its people out of poverty,” Diagana said.

“This financing package reinforces the World Bank’s strong partnership with Nigeria, and our support towards reinvigorating its economy and fast-tracking poverty reduction, which can serve as a beacon for Africa.”

Since assuming office in May 2023, President Bola Tinubu has initiated a series of reforms aimed at addressing the chronic foreign-exchange shortages and stimulating economic growth.

Key measures include allowing the naira to trade more freely, significantly increasing interest rates, and phasing out a costly fuel subsidy by adjusting gasoline prices.

Also, the Central Bank has taken steps to clear a $7 billion backlog of unmet foreign-exchange obligations to industries and foreign investors.

These reforms are part of a broader strategy to attract foreign investment and diversify the economy, which has traditionally relied heavily on oil production.

Despite Nigeria’s status as Africa’s largest oil producer, low crude production levels and a lack of economic diversification have contributed to ongoing fiscal challenges and foreign-exchange shortages.

The World Bank’s funding is expected to provide much-needed support for these reform efforts, helping to stabilize the economy and improve the overall economic outlook.

The injection of $2.25 billion will not only address immediate fiscal needs but also lay the groundwork for sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction.

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Banking Sector

A Failed Attempt to Trigger a Run on Banks

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As market sentiment remains highly volatile and driven by news flow, banks liquidity levels can become vulnerable due to spread of inaccurate information.
As Nigerian banks put finishing touches to their recapitalisation plans as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), industry watchers have seen how social media mercenaries and their hirelings are deliberating distorting the truth and pushing campaigns that spread false information which could result in deposit outflows from their targeted banks.
Earlier this month when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked the banking licence of Heritage Bank, it gave reasons for the decision.
The reason was clearly stated! “This action has become necessary due to the bank’s breach of Section 12 (1) of BOFIA, 2020. The Board and Management of the bank have not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constitutes a threat to financial stability,” CBN noted.
The CBN said Heritage Bank had continued to suffer and had no reasonable prospects of recovery, thereby making the revocation of the license the next necessary step.
A statement by Hakama Sidi Ali, acting Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, said the apex bank acted in accordance with its mandate to promote a sound financial system in Nigeria and in exercise of its powers under Section 12 of the Banks and Other Financial Act, BOFIA, 2020.
Many market watchers, particularly those following developments in the banking industry did not think the CBN should have done otherwise and subsequent appointment of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, as the liquidator.
Mischievous ‘list’ of other banks
Shortly after the apex bank hammer fell on Heritage Bank, social media mischief makers released their own ‘list’ of other banks they felt will go the Heritage way – not minding the illegality of assuming such a regulatory position.
Thanks to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for quickly debunking the fake news which had mentioned the names of other banks – Fidelity Bank, Wema Bank, Polaris Bank and Unity Bank.
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to some information circulating in the public domain, suggesting that the CBN is set to revoke the licenses of three additional banks following its regulatory action against Heritage Bank Plc on Monday, June 3, 2024.
“The CBN unequivocally states that these allegations are false and intended to trigger panic in the financial system. The Nigerian financial system remains safe, sound, and resilient. Our banks have begun submitting implementation plans for the Banking Sector Recapitalisation Programme in compliance with the CBN Circular reviewing the minimum capital requirements for Commercial, Merchant, and Non-Interest Banks (CMNIBs).
“These plans are currently being reviewed by the Bank. In addition to enhancing buffers to withstand economic shocks, this proactive measure by the CBN to require CMNIBs to recapitalise will result in increased capital for Nigeria’s banks, enabling them to provide much-needed credit to critical sectors of the economy. This will increase the financial system’s contribution to the growth and development of a $1 trillion Nigerian economy.
“The CBN would like to reassure all stakeholders of its unwavering commitment to ensuring the financial system’s stability. Our financial system remains on a solid footing, and the CBN will continue to take all necessary steps to maintain its safety and soundness,” said CBN’s Sidi Ali said in a June 4 statement in response to the false allegations of license withdrawals.

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