‘CBN’s rate hike poses risk for banks, real sector’

THE outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting would hurt the real sector of the economy, which is already contending with numerous macroeconomic challenges.

It would also pose a significant risk to the financial intermediation role of banks in the Nigerian economy, an economist, Muda Yusuf, said in a statement he shared with The ICIR on Tuesday, February 27. 

“The increase would constrain the capacity of banks to support economic growth and investment, especially in the real sector of the economy because the increases are quite significant,” Yusuf, who is also the chief executive officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), said. 

After its two-day meeting on Tuesday, the MPC raised the monetary policy rate (MPR) by 400 basis points from 18.75 per cent to 22.75 per cent and the cash reserve ratio (CRR) from 32.5 per cent to 45 per cent.

He said the decision was consistent with the typical policy response of the central banks globally, but it failed to reckon with domestic peculiarities. 

“The key drivers of Nigeria inflation are largely supply-side variables and the CBN ways and means of financing. Over the last two years, there has been persistent monetary policy tightening, yet there has not been any significant impact on the inflationary pressures. If anything, the general price level had been continuously on the increase.

“We recognise that the primary mandate of the CBN is price stability, but numerous headwinds have posed significant risks to this critical objective. Some of these include the surge in commodity prices and impact on energy cost, disruptive effects of insecurity on agricultural output, and global supply chain disruptions,” Yusuf said.

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He pointed out that the surge in ways and means of finance also makes the CBN a culprit in the inflation predicament over the past few years, saying, “The hike in MPR or CRR would not change these variables.” 

The economist stated that the 32.5 per cent CRR had already constrained bank lending before CBN’s review and discretionary debits.

He noted that the credit situation in the economy was already very tight, with lending rates ranging between 25 to 30 per cent, explaining that the Nigerian banks have yet to live up to their financial intermediation role because of these constraining factors. 

“The Nigerian economy is not a credit-driven economy, unlike what is obtained in many advanced economies, which have much higher levels of financial inclusion, robust consumer credit framework, and strong correlation between interest rate and aggregate demand.  

“The level of financial inclusion in the Nigerian economy is still quite low, access to credit by households and MSMEs is still very challenging, and the informal sector accounts for close to 50 per cent of the economy, Yusuf said. 

Private sector bank credit as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) was 14 per cent in 2022 in Nigeria, 59 per cent in South Africa, 30.9 per cent in Egypt, 30 per cent in Botswana, 51.6 per cent in the United States and 130 per cent in the United Kingdom.

The CPPE boss said, “These underscore the variabilities across economies; thus, policy responses have to be different,” he pointed out that the transmission effects of monetary policy on Nigeria’s economy were still fragile. 



    The hike in MPR to 22.5 per cent means the cost of credit to the private sector exposed to bank credits will increase, impacting their operating costs, product prices and profit margins amidst very challenging operating conditions.  

    It might also adversely impact the equities market, submitting that the CBN must accelerate the increased capitalisation of the development finance institutions to create a concessionary financing window for the real sector and small businesses.

    Yusuf highlighted critical drivers of inflation, including foreign exchange scarcity, energy cost, supply chain disruptions, insecurity, and climate change, among other factors.

    The ICIR has reported that analysts at Commercio Partners Research expect the MPC’s rate hike to cause increased strain on the economy, especially businesses.

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