CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, said Monday that banks are restructuring 41% of loans in the country as loans worth ₦7.8 trillion or $20 billion to 35,640 customers are being reorganised out of ₦18.9 trillion in credit across the industry. The CBN had placed a moratorium on interest charges and principal debt repayments to cushion the blow of lower oil prices and fallout from the coronavirus. 22 of the lenders in Nigeria are involved in the transactions, he said, adding that the loans will go bad immediately by the regulator’s prudential ratio if the CBN did not ask the banks to grant these forbearance to their customers. Emefiele was speaking after the monetary policy committee decided to hold the benchmark interest rate at 12.5%. The central bank would be more comfortable if 65% of loans were being restructured, he said. According to Emefiele, the ratio of non-performing loans to total credit improved to 6.4% in June from 11.1% a year earlier, while the industry’s average capital adequacy ratio stood at 15% from 15.2% previously.
Many Nigerian banks have suspended, or cut down the amount their customers can spend abroad using debit cards as the lenders try to limit foreign currency settlement risk. Reuters reported that the banks are trying to avoid transactions with hard currency, a development that calls for concern as the country’s worsening dollar shortages are made more severe by the sharp fall in the price of oil, Nigeria’s main export. Stanbic IBTC Bank, the local unit of South Africa’s Standard Bank, said it will halve the spending limit for offshore card transactions to $500 per month from Monday and will limit cash withdrawals to $100. According to a top tier lender Zenith Bank, it will temporarily suspend the use of debit cards abroad for cash withdrawals and cut the monthly spending limit abroad by more than half to $200. The review, Zenith said, is in response to current economic realities. It advised clients to request prepaid dollar cards. Other lenders — Ecobank and Fidelity Bank — have also lowered withdrawal limits for individuals while abroad. It was not clear if the Central Bank of Nigeria was behind the latest action since it had made such moves previously. The bank is battling to conserve dollar reserves that are down 19% from a year ago. Last week it depreciated the currency on the official market prompting the naira to weaken on the black and over-the-counter spot markets. Reuters quoting bankers reported that it now takes more than six months to settle foreign lines of credit.
Most contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission were awarded to National Assembly members, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio said Monday before the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC probing the commission based on an allegation of ₦80.5 billion in irregular expenditures. Akpabio, who had been invited by the lawmakers on Friday to defend his actions as Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and shed more light on financial misappropriation within the NDDC, was being questioned by members of the committee in a public hearing. The committee also summoned the acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Kemebradikumo Pondei, and the Managing Director of AHR Global Service among others. The Head, Directorate of Research and Programmes, Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, NGO, Johnson Kolawole, had accused the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC of gross abuse of budget implementation process. He said that the IMC had expended over ₦80 billion between January 2020 and May 2020 as against the ₦22 billion repeatedly portrayed by the IMC. The 2019 Appropriation Act as passed by the National Assembly, according to Kolawole, provided for some emergency projects across the state in the region with an additional ₦800 million as emergency contingency sum. He added that the IMC has spent ₦20 billion on emergency road repairs; there are fraudulent cases of contract inflation and non-implementation. Kolawale alleged that money meant for students on scholarship abroad was being diverted into a private account of the IMC. Meanwhile, former acting Managing Director NDDC, Joy Nunih, told the committee that only N8 billion of the said ₦81.5 billion spent between October 2019 to May 2020 was spent under her watch as Akpabio predicted her to abuse processes and to engage in financial recklessness. She said that she prepared documents for the forensic audit mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari before she was forced out of office. Nunieh said this when she appeared before the house of representatives committee on NDDC, testifying on the alleged misappropriation of funds in the agency. Nunieh was meant to testify on Thursday before the committee but some police officers prevented her from leaving her residence in Rivers state. It took the intervention of Nyesom Wike, Rivers governor, to get her out of the siege.
At least 16 people, including a police officer, were feared killed by unknown gunmen during an attack on Kaura LGA, Kaduna State on Sunday, residents have said. The Kaduna police spokesperson, Muhammad Jalinge, confirmed that the attack occurred at Kukum Daji community, but said the police are yet to ascertain the actual number of casualties. However, residents said Sabon Gari Manchok, also in Kaura council area was also attacked by the gunmen who reportedly killed about 16 people and left many others injured. A resident said the attackers stormed their communities on motorcycles around 2030 hours, shooting sporadically during a wedding event. Meanwhile, the state’s commissioner for internal security, Samuel Aruwan, told BBC Hausa Monday afternoon that the attack was a crime against humanity.