…Urges Banks to sustain momentum
By Etuka Sunday
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed with delight the over last six months, aggregate credit growth by N2.0 trillion.
MPC has therefore, urged the Management of the Bank to sustain the current momentum of improved flow of credit to the Private Sector, while exploring other options with the fiscal authorities to strengthen thelegal framework for the enforcement of credit recovery.
The Committee observed that broad money supply (M3) grew by 6.22 per cent (year-to-date) in December 2019. Aggregate Credit (Net) similarly grew to 27.33 per cent in December 2019, from 23.12 per cent in the previous month.
This, it said, was largely attributed to an increase in Credit to Government, which grew to 92.95 per cent in December 2019, from 72.36 per cent in the previous month. Credit to the Private Sector also grew to 13.61 per cent in December 2019, from 12.82 per cent in the previous month.
Consequently, sectoral distribution of credit between end-May 2019 and end-December 2019 was as follows: manufacturing (N446.44 billion); General Retail and Consumer Loans (N419.02 billion); General Commerce (N248.48 billion); Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (N160.94 billion); Information and Communications (N156.47 billion); Finance and Insurance (N129.87 billion); Construction (N86.54 billion); and Transportation and Storage (N68.61 billion), amongst others.
On fiscal operations, the Committee applauded the Government for the recent signing of the 2020 Finance Bill which opens a new vista of opportunities in public financial management.
The MPC, however,cautioned that public debt was rising faster than both domestic and external revenue, noting the need to tread cautiously in interpreting the debt to GDP ratio.
The Committee also noted the rising burden of debt services and urged the Fiscal Authorities to strongly consider building buffers by not sharing all the proceeds from the Federation Account at the monthly FAAC meetings to avert a macroeconomic downturn, in the event of an oil price shock.
It urged Government to gradually reduce reliance on oil receipts and focus on revenue diversification through reforms of the tax system. The Committee also called on Government to rationalize fiscal expenditure towards reducing the current excessively high cost of governance.
CBN’s Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele while briefing newsmen shortly after the committee’s meeting in Abuja said, N2Trillion Gross credit in the industry between May 2019 and December 2019 was channeled primarily to the employment-stimulating sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing, in addition to increased lending to the retail and SME segments, which is expected to help boost domestic output growth in the short to medium term.
He said, in order to retain the gains from credit expansion and current industry focus on lending, the Committee advised the Bank to sustain its Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) Policy and in addition continue to deploy its DCRR policy which directs new funding for greenfield projects and expansion to critical sectors of the economy.
Emefiele said, the Committee by a decision of 9 members, voted to alter the Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) by 500 basis points from 22.5 to 27.5 per cent, while leaving all other policy parameters constant.
He said, the monetary stability and in view of the anticipated medium-termliquidity surfeit from maturing OMO bills held by local private and institutional investors, which would not be rolled over, the Committee considered it prudent to raise the CRR to curtail liquidity surfeit in the banking system.
The CBN boss said, the Committee was confident that increasing the CRR at this time was fortuitous as it would help address monetary-induced inflation whilst retaining the benefits from the Bank’s LDR policy, which has been successful in significantly increasing credit to the private sector as well as pushing market interest rates downwards.
He said, the Committee further encouraged the Management of the Bank to be more vigorous in its drive to improve access to credit through its pursuit of the Loan-to-deposit ratio policy as doing this would help, not only in creating job opportunities but also help in boosting output growth and in moderating prices.