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COVID-19: FG predicts Q1 2021 economic recovery timeline for Nigeria



images 2020 09 17T074452.066 COVID-19: FG predicts Q1 2021 economic recovery timeline for Nigeria

The Federal Government yesterday raised hopes of an rebound for the Nigerian economy from its COVID-19 induced recession, contrary to fears that it might linger for years. 

Speaking at the end of the 15th virtual Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said from the report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Nigerian economy was running better than expected.

According to her, the Nigerian economy will begin to recover by the first quarter of 2021, adding that measures are being put in place to stabilise it and ensure it continues to run despite disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister said: “We presented a memo to Council in respect of the second quarter GDP report, earlier released by the National Bureau of Statistics on August 24.  “Why the memo is so dated is because there was a retreat last week and we couldn’t get scheduled as well. Still for us, the information is important and topical. “The GDP report shows that the economy went into negative growth of -6.10 per cent in the second quarter but that the aggregate performance for half year 2020 is -2.1 percent. This performance of -6.10per cent is a good performance in the sense that it is better than what we have projected second quarter performance to be at -7.2per cent.

“This performance also is a good performance because it outperformed the projections that had been done by the Brentwood institutions. But it also outperformed very developed economies of the world and also economies that are comparable to us.  “The US for example went into negative growth of 33 per cent for the second quarter 2020 and 19per cent half year 2020. Similarly, the UK, Canada, Italy and several countries of the world all went into very significant negative growth.

“So, Nigeria’s economy has shown some level of resilience in this level of performance.

“We also reported to Council that even though out of the 46 sectors of the economy, 30 of these sectors showed negative growth, but there are still some sectors growing in the positive territory. “These sectors include agriculture as well as financial services and the ICT services. This is actually showing that even during the COVID era, there were still some sectors that stood firm and indeed were growing.  “The inflation was also reported to be moving up gradually, capital importation did not dry up despite the lockdowns and the difficulties all countries experienced. But this is reflected by the significant decline in capital importation into the country.

Earlier, while hosting the management of the Federal Inland Revenue  Service (FIRS) that paid her a courtesy call, the Minister had expressed optimism that the economy which was projected to slip into its worst recession in 30 years and the second in five years after the 2016 recession, would begin to recover by the first quarter of 2021.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)report   showed that Nigeria’s gross domestic product shrunk by six percent in the second quarter of 2020.

In a statement signed by Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, Special Adviser Media and Communications to the Minister, quoted Ahmed as saying the economy will recover in Q1 2021. She said the prediction is based on the minimal impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The minister urged the FIRS to do more in revenue generation in order to service government debt and implement other government activities.

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Fidelity Bank Restates Support for SMEs



images 2020 09 28T101531.256 Fidelity Bank Restates Support for SMEs

Fidelity Bank Plc has pledged its continued support for the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSMEs) sector whose activities were disrupted in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bank made the disclosure recently at the 13th edition of the Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Speaking at one of the panel sessions, Divisional Head, SME Banking Division, Osaigbovo Omorogbe, said the bank’s commitment was borne out of the realisation that SMEs are the engine room of any economy.

“The ability of MSMEs to stay on sustainably at this time, and even become more attractive for various types of funding support will undoubtedly be strengthened with deepened capacity building support, both on the back and front office ends”.

He explained that there was a compelling need for relevant stakeholders to deepen capacity-building support for MSMEs in various areas, ahead of funding support, to enable them position more strongly to stay afloat and even grow in the new normal.

While insisting that a one-size-fits-all capacity building model/approach for MSMEs would no longer help, Omorogbe stressed the need for more tailored capacity building support that will take into account the peculiarities and challenges MSMEs are facing; first on account of the pandemic and secondly because of the respective economic sectors they play in, their supply and distribution chains, the geographical locations they operate from and cover, etc.

He advocated for stronger collaboration amongst all stakeholders who have roles to play in ensuring MSMEs get and enjoy the much needed support they require at this time, in various areas, to further ensure the MSME segment not only survives the times but also gets set firmly, on the path of sustainable growth.

Over the years, Fidelity Bank has leveraged the myriad intervention/development funding schemes typically offered at single digit interest rates by local and international Development Finance Institution (DFIs), for the benefit of its SME customers. Specifically, the Bank has through the efforts of its SME Banking Division, continued to build structures and systems to channel low-cost intervention/development funding to MSMEs including women entrepreneurs, to tame the ‘high-cost-of-funds’ challenge small businesses face in this market.

As at mid-September 2020, the Bank in its capacity as a participating financial institution (PFI) in the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) on lending scheme for SMEs and small corporates, has disbursed a total of N21.9 billion to a large number of SMEs and small corporates playing in diverse sectors.

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CIBN Recertifies NDIC’s Academy



download 16 CIBN Recertifies NDIC’s Academy

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Academy has been recertified and its accreditation renewed as a training service provider for various professionals in the banking industry for the next three years effective June, 2020, by the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

The recertification, according to the Head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since it initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification. He noted there would be periodic monitoring to ensure that quality standards are being adhered to.

A statement quoted Ogunpola to have commended the NDIC for its consistent efforts toward meeting high standards for the benefit of the banking industry and the larger economy.

He described the NDIC’s readiness to subject itself to the rigors of the Institute’s accreditation process as a testimony of its Management’s commitment to capacity development for all stakeholders.

Reacting to the development, NDIC’s Managing Director/Chief Executive, Mr. Umaru Ibrahim described the recertification as another milestone in the NDIC efforts to consolidate the position of the Academy as a center of academic excellence in the nation’s banking industry and on deposit insurance in Africa.

Ibrahim disclosed that the Academy had so far trained a total of 13,368 participants cut across the NDIC’s workforce. It had also trained 135 participants from relevant stakeholders, including the EFCC, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

On the international front, 19 employees from sister deposit insurance agencies in African had benefitted from the expertise of the Academy

He stated that the NDIC Academy has been designated to host the African Centre for Studies on Deposit Insurance System (ACSDIS) recently established by the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurance (IADI).

Ibrahim reiterated that with the recertification, the NDIC Academy is positioned to fulfill the NDIC’s goal of serving as a center of excellence for capacity building on Deposit Insurance Scheme (DIS) for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. He added that the NDIC prides itself on establishing the highest standards of professionalism and competency among its staff through the NDIC Academy and other human capital development initiatives, including the Chartered Banker/MBA program at Bangor University, Wales in partnership with the CIBN.

The NDIC boss emphasiSed that the corporation places high premium on capacity building and continuous high level training of its staff to achieve the NDIC mandate of deposit guarantee, bank supervision, bank distress resolution and liquidation. The ultimate goal, he said, would be to enhance depositor protection and public confidence in the nation’s banking system.


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Popoola Wants Role for Credit Bureau in CBN’s Intervention Fund Disbursement



images 2020 09 28T095730.905 Popoola Wants Role for Credit Bureau in CBN’s Intervention Fund Disbursement

The access, impact and prospects of the intervention funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) formed the basis of discussion at a recent webinar organised by the CRC Credit Bureau.

The webinar was part of the firm’s CSR initiative that serves as an avenue to enlighten members of the public on issues around financial literacy and the Bank’s policies.

The Managing Director/ CEO, CRC Credit Bureau, Dr. ‘Tunde Popoola, said: “As at now most of the intervention funds, especially by the state governments are disbursed without reference to the credit bureaus. Even after disbursement, such data are not submitted to the credit bureaus.

“What happens is that wrong people or non-targeted platforms may be the beneficiaries of the intervention funds”

Popoola further advocated that data of beneficiaries be submitted to the credit bureau, saying it would help in collection and repayment, alongside improve access to non-government funds for credit beneficiaries as well as instill discipline to the repayment process.

Presenting the intervention funds as one of the key mandate of the CBN, Dr. Chinedu Zephaniah, of its Development Finance Department, said the Bank was positioned to promote a sound financial system, stimulate key sectors and facilitate investment in critical infrastructure that will assist development alongside deployment of finance to specific focal centres.

For him, the grand aim of development financing is to increase impact, achieve employment elasticity in some sectors of the economy and diversify the economic base of the economy.

“Our focus is on agriculture, manufacturing, specialised products for MSMEs, infrastructure and then power. These are the sectors that when we intervene, we have a wider range of effects to the economy.

“In all, CBN has disbursed over N1.5 trillion in terms of facilities. CBN will continue to focus on the priority sectors of the economy using particularly agriculture and manufacturing through a range of direct policy and indirect policy interventions, alongside direct funding of these sectors.

“We will take advantage of the COVID-19 and turn its difficulties into opportunities,” he explained.

Presenting fund management and project implementation as some of the duties of Bank of Industry, the Executive Director of Bank of Industry, Mr. Simon Araronu, during his session moved on to explain that BOI also plays a monetary role in overseeing that the funds are returned back to the fund owner, the CBN as at when due.

According to Araronu, the four core intervention funds managed at the BoI include power and airline, SMes, industry finds and textile intervention funds.

“Following the COVID-19 development, there was need for palliative. CBN was very proactive and offered a reduction in interest rate.

“Right now, the interest rate for the aforementioned intervention funds have gone down from nine per cent to five per cent for one year.

“The idea behind it is to provide palliative to players in this sector. For projects under implementation, CBN granted a one-year extension of moratorium from March 1, to February 28, 2021,” he added.

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