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Banks’ Lending To Private Sector Declines By N600.60bn

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The total loans granted by Nigerian banks to the private sector declined by N600.60bn, from N16 trillion in the first quarter of 2017 to N15.34 trillion, in the second quarter of 2018.
A report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Selected Banking Sector Data: Sectorial Breakdown of Credit, ePayment Channels and Staff Strength (Q2 2018), recently released, revealed that credit to the private sector declined for six consecutive quarters.
A breakdown of the total N63.27 trillion credit provided in 2017 by banks to finance activities of the private sector shows that N16 trillion was provided in the first quarter.
The second, third and fourth quarters had N15.7 trillion, N15.83 trillion and N15.74 trillion, respectively.
According to the report, banks lent N15.6 trillion to the private sector in Q1 2018, while the total value of credit allocated by banks stood at N15.34 trillion as at Q2 2018.
Credit allocation to the Oil & Gas sector increased to N3.45 trillion in Q2 from
N3.42 trillion in Q1 2018, while finance to the Manufacturing sector dropped to N2.02 trillion from N2.07 trillion in Q1.
The money lent to the agriculture sector increased to N523.08 billion from N501.6 billion recorded in Q1, Power and Energy dropped to N416.34 billion from N426.5 billion while Mining and quarry also declined to N10.18 billion from N10. 461 billion in Q1.
While credit to Government increased to N1.47 trillion from N1.411 trillion, Trade/General Commerce decreased from N1.054 trillion to N1.044 trillion, Finance, Insurance and Capital Market also dropped to N991.22 billion from N999.491 billion.
Similarly, Real Estate declined to N744.56 billion from N784.228; Information Communication and Technology received N814.57 billion and Construction had N612.85 billion, as at the review period.
The Education sector received N71.8 billion, while Transportation and Storage and other Sectors received N304.4 billion and N361.7 billion, respectively.
Dr Frank Jacobs, President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said the Deposit Money Banks (DMB) had consistently showed unease to lend to the real sector of the economy.
“One of the greatest challenges facing the manufacturing sector in the country is lack of long-term financing and high interest rate.
“It is quite disturbing to us that the banks are not lending as much as we need because that is the only way to grow the economy,” he said.
Jacobs said the association would continue to engage the banks to bridge the funding gaps.
He commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its plan to implement a special regime to make funds available to the manufacturing and agriculture sectors at nine per cent interest.
However, Jacobs reiterated that to spur economic growth, recovery and industrialisation, funds should be made available to the real sector at five per cent.
Similarly, Mr Muda Yusuf, Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said more funds should be allocated to the private sector to enhance productivity, employment and economic growth.
“If lending is declining, it shows that there is a lot of more work to be done. Some of the issues affecting private sector lending needs to be revisited.
“When the economic environment is not too conducive, the risk of lending to the private sector increases,” he said.
Yusuf said fiscal and monetary policies should be created and implemented effectively to reduce the risk of lending to the private sector and to fix the operating environment.
Also, Mr Tunde Balogun, co-founder, Rent Small Small Ltd, a real estate company, said little attention had been paid to the real estate sector in terms of investment and funds compared to manufacturing, agriculture and oil and gas sector.

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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