Total assets of the banking industry grew by N14.36tn or 24.24 per cent from N59.24tn at the end of December 2021 to N73.59tn in the corresponding period of 2022. The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this in the personal statement made by the Deputy Governor of, the Financial System Stability Directorate, CBN, Aishah Ahmad, at the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting. She said, “Key industry aggregates also continued their year-on-year upward trajectory with total assets rising to N73.59tn in December 2022 from N59.24tn in December 2021, while total deposits rose to N45.50tn from N38.42tn over the same period.“ Total credit also increased by N5.14tn between the end of December 2021 and end-December 2022 with significant growth in credit to manufacturing, general commerce and oil & gas sectors. This impressive increase was achieved amid a continued decline in the non-performing loans ratio from 4.90 per cent in December 2021 to 4.20 per cent in December 2022. According to her, the financial system had provided significant support for needed domestic economic resilience amid global shocks and remained strong into 2023. Data provided by Bank staff, she said, indicated stability in broad soundness indicators and an unprecedented improvement in asset quality, even as a credit to the private sector continued to grow. She noted that the capital adequacy as of December 2022 was robust at 13.83 per cent, 383 basis points above the regulatory minimum of 10 per cent. Industry liquidity was also strong at 44.10 per cent over the same period and supported by significant cash reserve requirement buffers available to provide liquidity backstops, should banks require it, she noted. Ahmad said, “The sector also benefitted from ingenious initiatives such as the naira redesign and revised cash withdrawal limit policies, all expected to strengthen the banking channel of monetary policy transmission.“ Furthermore, the results of stress tests showed the resilience of banks’ solvency and liquidity ratios in response to potential severe macroeconomic shocks. “However, the bank must remain vigilant to proactively manage probable macro risks to the financial system arising from spillover effects of global headwinds and domestic vulnerabilities, in view of the financial system’s strategic role in driving sustainable economic recovery.” According to her, the economy had continued on a path of positive growth for eight consecutive quarters, driven largely by support from the Bank and the fiscal authority to output-enhancing sectors. Based on data from the National Bureau of Statistics, she said, Real Gross Domestic Product grew by 2.25 per cent (year-on-year) in the third quarter of 2022, compared with 3.54 per cent in the second quarter of 2022 and 4.03 per cent in the corresponding period of 2021. Staff projections indicated that output growth recovery was expected to continue reasonably into 2023, given the expected sustained positive performance during the fourth quarter of 2022 and a steady rebound in economic activities, she said. She noted that the optimism was further supported by the marginal improvement in the composite Purchasing Manager’s Index from 49.0 index points in November 2022 to 49.4 index points in December 2022, although it remained below the 50.0 index points threshold. “Continued policy support is, therefore, crucial to strengthen output performance and preserve this positive output growth trajectory,” she said. A member of the MPC, Kingsley Obiora, who also noted that the assets rose by N14.36tn from N59.24tn in December, said the growth was driven by balances with CBN/banks, investments, and credit expansion to the real sector.

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