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Nine Banks’ Non-performing Loans Rise, Hit N814bn – Reports

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The aggregate Non-Performing Loans of nine banks increased to N814.08bn in 2021, representing a 3.16 per cent increase from the N789.14bn reported in 2020, according to findings by The PUNCH.

The nine banks are Access Holdings Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc, FCMB Group, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc.

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Others are Guaranty Trust Holding Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, and Ecobank Nigeria.

However, with the banking sector’s NPL ratio closing 2021 at 4.85 per cent, some of the nine banks remained within the five per cent NPL ratio stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Further findings also show that while some of the banks recorded an increase in their NPLs during the period under review, a number of them recorded a significant decline in their NPLs.

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From the banks’ audited 2021 financial statements, findings showed that Access Holdings, Zenith Bank and GTCO reported the top three highest NPL by value among the nine banks, while Stanbic IBTC Holdings reported the lowest.

Access Bank in 2021 reported N181.5bn NPL by value, representing an increase of 4.3 per cent from the N161.2bn it recorded in 2020, while Zenith Bank’s NPL hit N146.8bn in 2021 from N125.2bn recorded in 2020, an increase of 17.3 per cent.

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Zenith Bank, in a presentation to investors/analysts, explained that it adopted a complete and integrated approach to risk management that was driven from the Board of Directors’ level to the operational activities of the bank.

The bank further explained that its risk management was practiced as a collective responsibility coordinated by the risk control units and is properly segregated from the market-facing units to assure independence.

“There is a regular scan of the environment for threats and opportunities to improve industry knowledge and information that drives decision making. The group maintains a proactive approach to business and ensures an appropriate balance in its risk and reward objectives,” the bank explained.

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Wema Bank, in 2021, reported N21.3bn NPL, an increase of 19.3 per cent from N19.3bn in 2020, while FCMB Group’s NPL rose to N45.93bn, representing a 61 per cent increase from N28.57bn it reported in 2020.

Others are Union Bank of Nigeria with N38.66bn NPL in 2021 from N29.45bn reported in 2020, as Stanbic IBTC Holdings reported 23.4 per cent drop in its NPL to N20.3bn in 2021 from N25.5bn in 2020.

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Furthermore, GTCO’s NPL value rose by 2.3 per cent to N113.94bn in 2021 from N111.43bn reported in 2020, while UBA closed 2021 with N96.5bn NPL value from N120.08bn reported in 2020, indicating a significant reduction in its NPL.

In addition, ETI Nigeria reported N149.15bn NPL by value in 2021 from N167.41bn in 2020, a decline of 11 per cent.

Ecobank Nigeria reported NPL ratio of 16.6 per cent in 2021 from 19.6 per cent in 2020. Access Holdings  closed 2021 with NPL ratio of 4.3 per cent as against four per cent in 2020, as Zenith Bank NPL ratio dropped to 4.2 per cent in 2021 from 4.3 per cent in 2020.

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According to analysts, the NPL ratios in the banking sector remained stable in 2021, following the CBN’s forbearance for restructuring loan exposure to critical sectors.

Extract from the banks’ performance revealed that GTCO reported a drop in its NPL to 6.04 per cent in 2021 from 6.39per cent in 2020, while ETI Nigeria reported 16.30 NPL ratio in 2021 from 19.90 per cent in 2020.

GTCO in a presentation to investors/ analysts explained, “The Group improved its asset quality with IFRS 9 Stage 3 loans closing at 6.04 per cent in 2021 from 6.39 per cent in 2020.

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“The marginal increase in prudential NPLs from 6.86 per cent to 6.92 per cent was as a result of stress noted with certain exposures within the hospitality, individuals, clubs, co-operative societies and unions as the obligors within these sectors were severely impacted by Covid-19.

“Downstream sector benefited from the N7.2bn write-off in FY 2021 as its NPLs improved to 8.6 per cent in 2021 from 11 per cent in 2020.

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“IFRS 9 Stage 3 loans closed at N113.9bn as of FY 2021 increasing by 2.2 per cent from N111.5bn in 2020. Balance Sheet Impairment Allowance for Stage 3/Lifetime Credit Impaired exposures closed at N57.5bn representing 50.5 per cent coverage of loans in this classification.

“In aggregate terms (including Regulatory Risk Reserves of N87.6billion), the Group has adequate coverage of 150.4per cent for its Stage 3 names/NPLs, this position is consistent with the group’s plan to maintain 100 per cent coverage for its NPLs.”

UBA, Access Bank, and Zenith Bank, among other banks, reported NPL ratio below five per cent in the 2021 financial year.

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For instance, UBA’s NPL dropped to 3.60 per cent from 4.70 per cent in 2020.

Speaking on its NPL decline performance, UBA’s Group Chief Financial Official, Ugo Nwaghodoh said, “This testifies to the quality of UBA’s loan portfolio even as the bank remains relentless in its resolve to drive down the Cost-to-Income ratio, which stood at 63.0 per cent at the end of the year.”

Access Bank reported 4.00 per cent NPL ratio in 2021 from 4.30 per cent, while Zenith Bank reported 4.20 per cent NPL ratio in 2021 from 4.30 per cent in 2020.

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Stanbic IBTC Holdings reported 2.10 per cent NPL in 2021 from 4.00 per cent reported in 2020.

The Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC, Dr Demola Sogunle in a statement said the NPLs ratio moderated to 2.1 per cent, well within the acceptable limit of five per cent, as the total NPLs decreased in value by 23 per cent coupled with the responsible loan growth in line with the management conservative credit risk management practices.

In addition, Wema Bank reported NPL ratio declined from 4.9 per cent in 2020 to 4.5 per cent in 2021, as Union Bank of Nigeria’s NPL ratio moved from 4.00 per cent to 4.30per cent in 2021.

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FCMB group closed 2021 with 4.10 per cent NPL ratio from 3.3 per cent in 2020.

Members of the Monetary Policy Committee of the CBN, thus, applauded the management’s efforts in ensuring the continued downward trend of NPLs ratio, signifying improving conditions in the banking system

The MPC members also noted the sustained resilience of the banking system, following the progressive improvement in the NPLs ratio from 5.10 per cent in November 2021 to 4.85 per cent in December 2021- a first in a long time.

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In her personal statement, a member, CBN Deputy Governor, Aishah Ahmad, said NPLs dropped to its lowest level in over a decade despite the increased lending by banks.

She noted that total credit had increased by N4.09tn between the end of December 2020 and December 2021 with significant growth in credit to manufacturing, general commerce, and oil and gas sectors.

She said, “Key industry aggregates also continued their year-on-year upward trajectory with total assets rising to N59.24tn in December 2021 from N50.99tn in December 2020, while total deposits rose to N38.42tn from N32.21tn over the same period.

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“Total credit also increased by N4.09tn between end- December 2020 and end-December 2021 with significant growth in credit to manufacturing, general commerce, and oil & gas sectors.

“This impressive increase was achieved amidst continued decline in non-performing loans ratio from 5.10 per cent in November 2021 to 4.94 per cent in December 2021, 6 basis points below the regulatory benchmark for the first time in over a decade.”

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Register With Us, Grow Your Business, Edo Govt Tells Business Owners

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Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have been urged to register with the appropriate Edo State agencies in order to get the requisite government assistance to grow.

The Acting Governor of Edo, Comrade Philip Shaibu, made the call on Thursday in Benin during a stakeholders meeting between the MSMEs and the state Ministry of Physical Planning, Urban and Regional Development.

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The meeting was convened in partnership with the German Agency for the Cooperation (GIZ), which is working to ensure an enabling environment for the MSMEs.

The business owners, the acting Edo chief said would need to register with the state Ministry of Trade and Investment, so as to receive necessary attention.

“As Government, we will use the banks; we will also use our facilities to grow your businesses because we have discovered we need you to function.

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“We need you to stand; until you stand, our economy will be shaking and we don’t want our economy in Edo to be shaking.

“We want to grow our GDP. Our target is not 28 per cent contribution to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), our target is to have MSMEs accounting for at least 65 per cent,” he said.

Shaibu described MSMEs as a critical stakeholder that was responsible for 79 employment in the state.

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Earlier in her address, Ms Blessing Ajimoti, Edo Coordinator for the GIZ-SEDIN programme, urged the MSME owners to leverage of the opportunity to ask questions about the Benin Masterplan.

She said her agency’s partnership with Edo ministry was in fulfilment of its objectives.

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One of these, she said was to improve the employment and income situation of MSMEs through access to finance and business service.

She also said that GIZ SEDIN programme also aimed to strengthening entrepreneurial and managerial skills, and addressing key barriers in the business environment and investment climate.

 

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E-Naira, Others May Drop Remitting Cost To Nigeria, Others —IMF

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The International Monetary Fund has disclosed that central bank digital currencies could drop the cost of sending and receiving the money to Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries.

The Washington-based lender stated that Sub-Saharan Africa is the most expensive region to send and receive money, with the average cost pegged at a little under eight per cent of the transfer amount. It added that CBDCs could cheapen the process by shortening payment chains and creating competition among service providers.

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In its ‘More African Central Banks Are Exploring Digital Currencies,’ report published on its blog, the IMF said, “They can also facilitate cross-border transfers and payments.

“Sub-Saharan Africa is the most expensive region to send and receive money, with an average cost of just under eight per cent of the transfer amount. CBDCs could make sending remittances easier, faster, and cheaper by shortening payment chains and creating more competition among service providers.

“Faster clearance of cross-border payments would help boost trade within the region and with the rest of the world.”

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According to the fund body, several sub-Saharan African central banks are exploring/piloting digital currencies following Nigeria’s October’s launch of the eNaira. It said CBDCs are digital versions of cash that are more secure and less volatile than crypto assets because they are backed and regulated by central banks.

READ ALSO: E-Naira: CBN Assures Effective Technology To Check Hackers, Fraudsters

The South African Reserve Bank is experimenting with a wholesale CBDC, which can only be used by financial institutions for interbank transfers, as part of the second phase of its Project Khokha. The country is also participating in a cross-border pilot with the central banks of Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.

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It stated that the Bank of Ghana was testing the e-Cedis while the South African Reserve Bank is experimenting with a wholesale CBDC as part of the second phase of its project Khokha and participating in a cross-border pilot with the central banks of Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore.

It said while countries have different motives for issuing CBDCs, it has some potential important benefits for the region.

The IMF further said, “The first is promoting financial inclusion. CBDCs could bring financial services to people who previously didn’t have bank accounts, especially if designed for offline use.

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“In remote areas without internet access, digital transactions can be made at little or no cost using simple feature phones. CBDCs can be used to distribute targeted welfare payments, especially during sudden crises such as a pandemic or natural disaster.”

It added that while several risks and challenges needed to be considered before issuing a CBDC, governments must improve access to digital infrastructures such as a phone or internet connectivity.

The IMF stated that central banks will need to develop the expertise and technical capacity to manage the risks to data privacy and to financial integrity, which will require countries to strengthen their national identification systems so that know-your-customer requirements are more easily enforced.

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It said, “There is also a risk that citizens pull too much money out of banks to purchase CBDCs, affecting banks’ ability to lend. This is especially a problem for countries with unstable financial systems.

“Central banks will also need to consider how CBDCs affect the private industry for digital payment services, which has made important strides in promoting financial inclusion through mobile money.”

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Bread Producers Threaten Strike Over Bakery Materials’ Price Hike

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Bread Producers Threaten Strike Over Bakery Materials’ Price Hike

Bread producers and caterers on Friday threatened to withdraw their services nationwide due to the unprecedented increase in bakery materials and the neglect of the Federal Government to this matter.

In a communiqué issued by their national body – Association of Master Bakers and Caterer of Nigeria, they stated that the cost of flour, sugar and other materials used in bakery business had skyrocketed beyond the reach of many bakers.

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In the communiqué, which was issued after the National Executive Council meeting of the association in Abuja, and made available to our correspondent on Friday, the bakers stated that they would down tools from July 13, 2022.

They also revealed that efforts to get government’s intervention in the matter had been unsuccessful, as there had been no positive response from the concerned ministries, departments and agencies of government.

The communiqué, signed by the association’s executives, led by its National President, Mansur Umar, stated that the council reviewed the “neglect of the Federal Government in addressing the challenges facing our sector as captured in our letters acknowledged by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria and unproductive intervention of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

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“Increase in prices of bakery materials especially flour and sugar having reached unprecedented levels, for example, flour is now between N25,000 and N27,500, so also other ingredients.

READ ALSO: Starvation Looms As Baking Industry Moves To Shut Down Over High Cost Of Production

“The National Wheat Cultivation Committee already constituted is yet to be inaugurated after over one year. NAFDAC, SON, NESREA have turned the bakers into money making machine by charging our members outrageous levies even at this very challenging moment.

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“Consequently, the NEC in session resolved that all zones, state, Local Governments and units of our association should commence full mobilisation of our members nationwide to embark on withdrawal of services starting from Wednesday July 13, 2022 for an initial period of two weeks.”

The, however, noted that its “members should await further directives.”

This came as it was gathered that the hike in bakery materials was what led to the recent increase in the cost of bread and other items produced from flour.

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