Non-performing loans in the banking sector stood at ₦1.676 trillion as of the end of March 2019, with ₦15.480 trillion recorded as gross loans. ₦13.739 trillion was recorded as loans after specific provisions in the same period. This indicates a ratio of 10.83 percent for the non-performing loans to total loans and 12.2 percent for non-performing loans to total loans after specific provisions. Comparing the figures with what was recorded in the period of 2018, the non-performing loans were at ₦1.792 trillion, while the gross loans and loans after specific provisions were ₦15.353 trillion and ₦13.562 trillion respectively. There has been concern recently over the resurgence of huge toxic loans in the banking sector. The MD/CEO, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Ahmed Kuru, called for a revisiting of the Failed Bank Act so that operatives in the sector are held accountable for their actions. Banks were also urged to immediately strengthen their risk management framework to stem the negative growth in the sector given the huge resources that were available to financial institutions and the pivotal role they played to the development of the economy.
Activity in the 82 mutual funds registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission rose by 30 percent to ₦686.5 billion in Q1 2019. The funds, also referred to as Collective Investment Scheme recorded ₦529.3 billion in Q4 ’18 following the registration of 74 mutual funds in Q1 of last year. The increase in the participation is as a result of increased awareness on the part of investing public regarding the importance of including the asset class in their portfolio. Compared to the 109.6 percent rise recorded in Q1 ’18, the Q1 ’19 figure is adjudged an under-performance, which according to investment experts was as a result of the political tension in the to the General Elections that resulted in uncertainty in the economy and huge withdrawals by foreign portfolio investors, especially in the equities segment of the market. The equities market had fallen by 1.2 percent during the three month period as the All Share Index, the major equities indicator, depreciated to 31,041.42 from 31,430.50 points, accentuating the flight to safety by FPIs in the wake of the general elections. Within the period under review, FPIs withdrew ₦124.24 billion as against N97.63 billion inflow. According to the Vanguard, investors were favourably disposed to Fixed Income Funds, Bond Funds and Money Market Funds, that have risk-free instruments as their underlying assets. Breakdown of activity within the period showed that the Fixed Income Funds rose by 85.6 percent, while the Bonds Funds and Money Market Funds got 69.4 percent and 33 percent increase respectively. The Equity-based Funds, on the other hand, depreciated by 21.4 percent to ₦11.94 billion from ₦15.20 billion in Q1’18. Mixed Funds, Ethical Funds and Real Estate Funds, fell by 12.1 percent, 9.5 percent and 2.2 percent respectively.
The Presidential Panel on Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Reform has recommended the establishment of state and local government police. The recommendation among others was contained in a report submitted by the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Chairman of the Panel, Anthony Ojukwu to President Muhammadu Buhari. The panel also suggested various reforms, including renaming the SARS as Anti-Robbery Section, which will operate under the Intelligence Unit of the Nigeria Police as it was hitherto and be more citizen friendly. It also recommended the dismissal of 37 police accused of violating the rights of Nigerians from service and the prosecution of 24 others for abuses. According to Ojukwu, the panel received 113 complaints on alleged human rights violations from across the country and 22 memoranda on suggestions on how to reform and restructure SARS and the Nigeria Police in general. The panel also directed the Inspector General of Police to unravel the identity of 22 ofﬁcers involved in the violation of the human rights of innocent Citizens and pay compensation of various sums in 45 complaints and tender public apologies in ﬁve complaints and directed to obey court orders in ﬁve matters. Other key recommendations of the panel include signiﬁcant improvement in the funding, kitting and facilities of the Nigeria Police; Strengthening Information and Communication Technology of the Force; Establishment of State and local government Police. President Buhari on Monday ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Ministry of Justice and National Human Rights Commission to work out modalities for the implementation of the report of the panel on the Reform of the SARS in three months.
Hundreds of jobs have been created with the spread of technology hubs across the country, as each employ between five and 10 workers engaged in developing various apps. There are now at least 77 technology hubs in Nigeria, and 12 new hubs are scheduled for launch before the end of the year. Lagos, with 36, has the largest number; Abuja has 13, while Rivers is home to five hubs. Enugu has about five tech hubs including just launched TechX. Kwara has two; Delta three; Abia two; Cross River two; Ondo three; Kano two; Oyo two and Ogun three. Lagos also has the largest technology hub ecosystem in Africa, ahead of Cape Town, and Nairobi, a 2018 GSMA report confirmed. With over 440 active tech hubs in Africa, the report found that five countries, namely, South Africa (59), Nigeria (55), Egypt (34), Kenya (30) and Morocco (25) make up 45 per cent of the total hubs in the region. The report noted that although South Africa has the most tech hubs in the region, Lagos alone, with 31 tech hubs, leads Cape Town (26 tech hubs), and Nairobi (25 tech hubs), making it the African city with the largest cluster of technology hubs. The GSMA report was released in March 2018, but between April 2018 and May 2019, Lagos added new hubs including Facebook NG_Hub; The Nest, Eko Innovation hub, among others. According to Nigerian Startup Funding Report, the country’s startups raised $17.6 million in first quarter (Q1) 2019, 8.5 per cent above Q1 2018 level. The report noted that over 80 per cent of the total funding was raised by Fintechs. However, almost 70 percent of the total funding for the quarter was contributed by foreign fund providers. 80 percent of the hubs are private sector driven.