Three Nigerian banks were undercapitlised with their capital adequacy ratio (CAR) far below the regulatory threshold, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a document.
Although the IMF did not mentioned the names of the banks but said in its final copy of the Article IV Consultation with Nigeria, released yesterday that as of December 2016, three banks (about 5 percent of assets)-including one internationally active one- were undercapitalized (with CARs below 8 percent).
The CBN has in its regulations a minimum regulatory CAR of 15% to banks with international authorisation and Systemically Important Banks (SIBs) while a CAR of 10% for other banks. The IMF said some weak banks in the country have been frequent users of the CBN’s liquidity window.
The consultation which is aimed at identifying the progress and limitations of Countries Monetary policies said to be under the adverse balance sheet effects 45 percent of bank loans are in foreign exchange and the corporates represent 75 percent of banks’ loan book.
An official of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who does not want to be named recently confirmed to Daily Trust that the apex bank is aware of the undercapitalized banks and has been engaging them since last year on the need to recapitalized.
The Fund said a significant exchange rate adjustment, would reduce banking sector resilience and increase the likelihood for capital augmentation, although limits on banks’ net FX open position could help contain risks.
On the value of naira, the Fund said in its final report that impact of a naira depreciation with many transactions already executed at higher-than-interbank exchange rates, a depreciation of the interbank rate is likely to have a net positive short-term impact on public finances and the external position, but would increase inflation and worsen banking sector asset quality and capital buffers.
“A 10 percent depreciation of the currency would reduce the overall fiscal deficit by 0.1 percent of GDP, as revenue gains (mainly through higher oil and customs/VAT revenues) more than offset higher foreign financed capital expenditure and interest payments. At the same time, FG net financing (in naira) would improve slightly.”
“ With imports representing 17 percent of the CPI basket, staff estimates that a 10 percent depreciation of the naira will increase inflation by 1 percentage point within 6 months (see WP/16/91). Second round inflationary effects could ensue for example from transportation mark-ups or inflationary expectations. A 10 percent depreciation of the naira could amplify corporate and financial sector vulnerabilities, increasing the banking sector’s NPLs net provision to capital and reducing the overall CAR by 3 and 1 percentage points, respectively.”
However, on the positive side the Fund said the real effective depreciation would improve the current account balance by about 1 percent of GDP, mainly through lower non-oil imports. The impact on non-oil exports is expected to be limited in the short term, given the narrow non-oil export base and structural impediments limiting productivity and competitiveness. A depreciation may encourage capital inflows by reducing overvaluation-previous staff analysis found that expectations of future depreciation reduced capital flows, especially for government debt securities.
Meanwhile the IMF said the economic activity of the West African Economic. and Monetary Union has remained strong but vulnerabilities have increased. Real GDP growth is estimated to have reached 6.2 percent in 2016, underpinned by robust and resilient domestic demand. Inflation remained subdued, at about 0.4 percent on average in 2016 due to continued solid agricultural production and low oil prices. Preliminary data suggest an overall fiscal deficit of 4.5 percent of GDP in 2016, higher than initially planned (4 percent).
The Fund said after concluding the Article IV Consultation on the region saying that the credit to the public sector expanded at a significantly faster rate (43.6 percent) than credit to the private sector (9.7 percent). However, money growth remained moderate (10.2 percent), as net foreign assets declined. Public debt is on the rise and reserve coverage declined to 3.7 months of imports at End-December 2016, reflecting a continued expansion in public infrastructure and lower-than-expected external financing.