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Manufacturers Owe Zenith Bank N901 billion

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Manufacturers in Africa’s largest economy have loans outstanding of N901billion due to Zenith Bank Plc as at September 2022, as sector players bemoan high lending rates that undermine productivity.

Data gathered by MoneyCentral shows this is a 9.55 percent increase from 2021’s N822.50 billion.

It should be noted that credit to manufacturers make up 25.12 percent of Zenith Bank’s total gross loans of N4.06 trillion.

Additionally, the sector comprises 28 percent of total dollar loans , according to data from the bank’s financial statement.

Diversified loan portfolio across sectors has supported asset quality of the lender as non-performing loans (NPLs) of 4.40 percent, though higher than 4.20 percent for 2021, is lower than the 5 percent regulatory threshold.

The Group adopts a complete and integrated approach to risk management that is driven from the Board level to the operational activities of the bank, according to the bank’s strategy statement.

“Risk management is practiced as a collective responsibility coordinated by the risk control units and is properly segregated from the market facing units to assure independence,” said the bank.

Nigerian banks have been much more prudent in allocation of loans in the aftermath of huge exposure to the oil and gas elicited by the precipitous drop in crude oil price of mid-2014 that tipped the country into its first recession in 25 years in 2016.

The coronavirus pandemic ballooned impairment charge to financial assets, but there has been a reduction in write offs or in loan loss expense on the back of the relaxation of lockdown policy and successful rollout of vaccines.

The Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio of commercial banks in Nigeria jumped to 5.3% in April 2022 from 4.84% held in February 2022. This is according to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Further analysis of the loan portfolio of Zenith Bank shows it extended loans worth N117.74 billion to Flour Mills of Nigeria; Beverages and Tobacco, N85.26 billion; Cement Manufacturing, N247.66 billion; N101.15 billion; and other manufacturing, N466.90 billion.

Manufacturers who are reeling from foreign exchange scarcity, rising inflation, and decrepit infrastructure say the current lending rate on loans offered to the productive sector by the commercial banks discourage productivity in the sector.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central (MPC) of the central bank has hiked the Monetary Policy Rate to 16.50 percent as it seeks to tame stubborn inflation.

To ameliorate the pains of companies, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has promised to provide single-digit loans to manufacturers of no more than 9 per cent.

“We want to ensure that the manufacturing sector can access capital at a single-digit rate of not more than nine percent,” said Emefiele.

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