Credit conditions in the banking sector has improved – Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has raised the hope of business owners in Nigeria going into 2020. Over the weekend, at the 24th annual bankers’ dinner, the governor highlighted the current strong position of the commercial banks and several development financing arms, to lend to investors and businesses.

Citing the improved minimum lending to deposit ratio, standing at 65%, and the reduction in delinquent loans via a framework that enables bankers to take money from other bank accounts of defaulters, Emefiele asserted that Nigerian banks are now strongly positioned to aid the nation’s economic recovery. He added that the sector has also experienced growth in gross credit by N1.16 billion between May and October 2019.

As well, the governor pointed to various development financing programs which are being backed by the apex bank to fast-track upward movement in critical sectors of the economy. He mentioned initiatives such as Anchors’ Borrower Program, and the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme and the Bankers Committee Agri-Business/ Small and Medium Enterprise Schemes (AGSMEIS) as strong buffers for especially the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

The Central Bank chief, however, posited strongly that Nigeria can no longer depend on a foreign reserve that is susceptible to a diminishing or unsteady oil price. He advised Nigerian consumers to start patronising locally made goods as that will reduce pressure brought by the global market. According to him:

“We should encourage Nigerians to consume goods that can be produced in Nigeria, knowing full well that a time will come when we may not have the foreign exchange to aid such activities, if we continue to rely on earnings from the export of crude oil“.

As Nigerian businesses round off activities for 2019, the introduction of new policies by ministries responsible for financing, investment and industries in the country seem to provide a new landscape that may set a different tone for the operating environment in 2020, in terms of VAT, the digital economy and monetary policies.

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