The viewpoint for Nigeria’s economy is now relatively stable as a slight upward trend in growth is expected on the back of an increased fiscal incentive, and a pick-up in both oil prices and production as well as selective private sector investments. So far the deposit money banks (DMBs) have maintained a cautious approach towards lending to the private sector so as to avoid a surge in non-performing loans.
The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has recently released a report for Q4 2017, entitled Selected banking sector data, drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This report shows that banking sector credit to the private sector totaled N15.7trn in Q4 2017, compared with N15.8trn recorded in the previous quarter.
The oil and gas sector was the largest recipient of loans from Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), accounting for 23% of total credit to the private sector. It is understood that some banks are seeing demand for loans for additional working capital requirements to boost oil production.
The second largest recipient of loans was the manufacturing sector, which accounted for 14% of the total in the same period, unchanged from the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, the agriculture sector, which is at the forefront of the economic diversification initiative of the government, received just 3.4%. The sector will continue to struggle until agriculturists can gain better access to credit. However, we note the multiple interventions by the CBN.
Credit extension growth to the private sector by banks was almost non-existent last year because fixed income instruments were more attractive. However, given that yields have fallen by +/-300bps in the past six months, we see a gradual pick-up in lending to the private sector through this year.