Nigerian banks’ loans to customers increased by 5.74 percent to ₦18.9 trillion in Q1 2020. This is from ₦17.4 trillion recorded in FY 2019. This indicates that the banks’ loans increased by more than ₦1 trillion during the first three months of the year. The breakdown of the loan showed that Zenith Bank recorded the biggest loans to customers in Q1 2020, having disbursed as much as ₦275.2 billion worth of loans during the period. In total, the tier-1 bank’s loans to customers stood at ₦2.6 trillion as of March 31st, 2020. First Bank came in second in terms of biggest loan disbursement in Q1 2020. There was a 10.74 percent increase or ₦198.9 billion addition in loans, which saw the tier-1 bank’s total loans to customers jumping to more than ₦2 trillion, up from ₦1.8 trillion as of December 2019. United Bank for Africa Plc came in third with ₦195.2 billion, followed by Guaranty Trust Bank Plc with ₦121.3 billion. Figures for the rest of the banks can be seen in the table below. The Central Bank of Nigeria had in July 2019 increased banks’ Loan to Deposit Ratio to 60 percent up from 58.5 percent. Three months afterwards, the LDR was again increased to 65 percent , even as speculations were rife that it would further be increased to 70 percent. The monetary regulator later issued a circular announcing that LDR would be retained at 65 percent, which is the current level. The CBN had increased the LDR to facilitate the provision of credit facilities to the real sector of the economy. The CBN incentives assigned a weight of 150 percent in respect of lending to SMEs, retail, mortgage, and consumer lending. Lenders are required to fully comply or risk attracting a levy of additional Cash Reserves Requirements of 50 percent of the lending shortfall of the target LDR. The regulator’s LDR policy, Nairametrics said, was partly responsible for the noticeable increase in banks’ loans to customers in Q1 2020.

Burundi’s outgoing president Pierre Nkurunziza has died, the country’s government said Tuesday. The government announced on twitter that the president, 55, died at Karusi hospital after suffering a heart attack. According to the statement on social media, Nkurunziza had attended a volleyball match on Saturday afternoon and was taken to the hospital that evening after falling ill. Although he appeared to recover on Sunday and spoke to those around him, he suddenly deteriorated on Monday morning. He then suffered a heart attack and despite an immediate resuscitation attempt, doctors were unable to revive him. Nkurunziza died at a hospital in Karuzi, eastern Burundi. The government said there would be a period of national mourning for seven days from Tuesday and that flags would be flown at half-mast. In power since 2005, Nkurunziza was due to be replaced in August by political ally Evariste Ndayishimiye, who was declared earlier this month the winner of a 20 May presidential election. Nkurunziza’s final years in office were racked by turmoil as his controversial decision to run for a third term in 2015 was condemned by the opposition as unconstitutional and sparked mass unrest. After a failed military coup and a crackdown by security forces, hundreds of thousands of people fled to neighbouring countries to escape the violence. Meanwhile, Kenyan newspapers have reported that Nkurunziza’s wife, Denise, is undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi.

Protesters in Yantumaki, Damusa LGA of Katsina State, have burned down a campaign billboard of the All Progressives Congress with the pictures of President Buhari and Governor Aminu Masari. The burnt billboard was along the highway leading to the town. The protesters were complaining about the level of insecurity in Yantumaki and neighbouring communities, making reference to the kidnap of a health worker, Mansir Yusuf, and his daughter by bandits around 0100 on Tuesday. On Monday, the district head of the area, Atiku Maidabino, was killed by unidentified gunmen at his palace. Eyewitnesses said the protesters barricaded the Katsina/Kankara highway and set bonfires along the road leading to the town, a situation that forced scores of motorists plying the highway to turn back.

The Nigerian Customs Service has been accused of being responsible for reasons many electricity customers in the country are denied meters. Some local assemblers have said that among the reasons is the extension of the application of a 35 percent levy introduced by the government on imported meters to components used for meter production. The managing director of Mojec International, a local meter assembling outfit, Chantel Abdul said that the enforcement of the levy on both imported components and manufactured meters is causing a pile-up of containers loaded with meter parts at the ports, which are in the millions. Many have criticised a levy on meters in a country where 62 percent of electricity customers lack access to meters, but the situation could worsen as even parts to manufacture millions of meters have been stranded at the ports for months because local manufacturers consider the levy prohibitive. Abdul said there are hundreds of cargoes of meter components for production stuck at the ports because the Nigerian Customs is demanding a 35 percent levy before they can clear them. Joseph Attah, the Customs spokesman said that the agency was merely implementing the directive of the Nigerian government as “Customs do not determine the tariffs.” Electricity customers who will in June begin paying additional 21 percent on the cost of single-phase meters and a 23 percent price increase for three-phase meters, according to new guidelines released by the NERC will bear the brunt of inadequate meters. NERC had said in a letter to the DisCos and Meter Asset providers, the price of single-phase meters was now ₦44.896.17 up from the previous ₦36,991.50, and customers applying for three-phase meters will now pay ₦82,855 instead of ₦67,055 due to the naira devaluation in March. The FG, as part of its import-substitution programme, last year introduced a levy of 35 percent in addition to the 10 percent import duties charged on electricity meters with the objective of encouraging local production of meters, thereby creating jobs and growing the economy. Apparently, the NCS did not get the memo as it is subjecting both manufactured meters and meter assembling components to the same 35 percent levy. The NSC has suggested that merely importing the parts of a meter to assemble a finished product does not warrant an exemption, just as importing a car with a broken tail light does not grant it the designation of ‘accidented vehicle’ which attracts lower tariff. Report from NERC had shown that metering gap for end-use customers is still a key challenge in the industry as of the 10,374,597 registered electricity customers, only 3,918,322 (37.77 percent) have been metered as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019. Only 22,825 end-use customers’ meters were installed during the fourth quarter of 2019, a significant fall from the 83,768 meters installed during the third quarter, the NERC had said.