Nigerians borrow more as domestic debt of banks hit N13.8trn

Borrowings by individuals and corporate entities from banking institutions have increased due to the economic recession, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Many now find it difficult to purchase their usual consumables, leading to increased demand for personal loans.

Topping the list of the increased borrowing are housing and personal loans to support basic necessities like feeding, school fees, repairs and other household miscellaneous.

“Households’ demand for house purchase lending, unsecured credit card lending and unsecured overdraft/personal loans increased in Q3. Corporate lending also increased across all firms’ sizes. These are expected to increase further in the Q4,” the report said.

Secured loan performance, as measured by default rates worsened in Q3, with attendant losses to banks and expectations of improvement in Q4.

Meanwhile, the oil and gas sector’s indebtedness to the banks increased from a N3.2 billion level during the first quarter of 2015 to N4.9 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

This is just a part of private sector indebtedness to the banking sector in the period under review.

The NBS, in its third quarter 2016 Private Sector Banking Credit, showed that banking debt portfolio at the end of the third quarter (Q3) of 2016 is N13.8 trillion. Power and energy industry and services, which are currently struggling to fund their projects, are also increasing their respective obligations.

Private sector credit flow represents the net amount of liabilities (for the instruments debt securities and loans) that have been incurred in various sectors.

Specifically, the oil and gas industry indebtedness rose by N3.6 billion, while the service segment increase was put at N1.2 billion in the period under review. Other high-profile debt increases include the manufacturing, N2.2 billion; mining and quarrying, N27.3 million; construction, N631.5 million; trade/general commerce, N973 million; and real estate, N760.2 million.

Finance, insurance and capital market debt recorded N933.4 million; education N89.3 million; information and communication, N957 million; and transport and storage, N459.2 million.

For example, about 15 energy companies in the country collectively owed bank a total of N380.76 billion, which has translated to a non-performing loan.

Speaking on his company’s indebtedness to banks, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Egbin Power Plc, Dallas Peavey Jr., said the company owes banks $325 million (N99.13 billion).

He noted that the scarcity of dollars had continued to take a toll on the company’s operations.

Speaking on the implication of such bank exposure to the oil and gas companies, an economic expert and Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf yesterday said that the credit risk outlook for these two sectors were not positive due to attacks on oil installations.

The LCCI chief noted that the recovery of the oil and gas sector would depend largely on the progress made in the curbing of the attacks on oil installations as well as the outlook for oil price.

Professor of Economics and Director, Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law, University of Ibadan, Adeola Adenikinju, blamed the power sector’s indebtedness to banks on the technical and economic losses that remained unacceptably high in the sector.

The don maintained that many government agencies, powerful individuals and organisations were also indebted to the power companies, thereby, worsening the plight of the industry and limiting their ability to meet their obligations to the banks.

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