NIGERIA'S ECONOMY AT RISK FROM RESOLUTION OF BANKS' CRISIS - CBN
BY MICHAEL EBOH
Efforts at resolving the crisis in the Nigerian banking industry will put the country's economy at risk, says the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in its Economic Report for the first half of 2011.
The CBN also said that government's efforts at addressing the growth and developmental challenges of the country will likely pose a threat to plans to ensure a stable economy.
The CBN, in the report, said the funds injected into the eight rescued banks, thus far, is capable of bringing about a significant increase in inflation and exchange rate.
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, said last week that it has injected a total of N2.1 trillion since 2009, to recapitalize the eight troubled banks whose management was sacked by the CBN and the NDIC.
AMCON said it injected a total of N736 billion into the three recently created bridge banks to bring them to the capital and liquidity adequacy level required by the CBN.
The Bridge Banks were created to take over the assets and liabilities of the nationalised Afribank, BankPHB and Spring Bank.
AMCON further disclosed that it injected N1.364trn in the remaining five rescued banks, which is on the verge of being acquired by other banks, to bring them to a position of zero capital.
This is in addition to other funds that will be used by the corporation to acquire the Non-Performing Loans and huge debt burdens of some banks in the country, before the end of the year, as disclosed by AMCON and the huge funds budgeted by the government to pursue developmental projects across the country.
In the half year report, the CBN, in the economic outlook for the second half of the year 2011, said these cash and liquidity injections pose a serious threat to the economic and financial stability of the country.
According to the CBN, the liquidity injection from the efforts at resolving the banking crisis and the fiscal arm in addressing the developmental challenges facing the country in the second half of 2011 may engender liquidity surfeit and drive up prices generally, including the exchange rate.
The report said, 'Monetary aggregates might continue to lag behind their indicative benchmark, while money market rates could remain high.
'It is expected that the monetary authority will engage in proactive monetary management to reduce the risks and threats of any imminent inflationary pressure. 'Furthermore, the continuous pressure on the foreign exchange market would pose major policy challenges for the CBN.'
The CBN further stated that events in the global economy pose a major risk to the Nigerian economy in the near to medium term.
According to the CBN, despite the the favourable near-term growth outlook for the domestic economy, recent developments in the global economy that have seen a sharp slowdown in economic activities in major advanced economies that prompted a downward review of global economic growth forecast for 2011, pose a major risk to the domestic economy in the near-to-medium term.
'With the growth slowdown in trading-partner countries, weak currencies will translate into build-up of inflationary pressure,' the CBN disclosed.