The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has set a target to grow its balance sheet to N1.2 trillion next year, Managing Director, Abba Bello, said on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the bank practically crawled its way out of bankruptcy between 2017 and 2020.
According to Bello, between 2015 and 2017, the bank was weighed down by 94 per cent Non-Performing Loans (NPL), a crop of demoralised workers and unethical practices.
However, since 2017, Bello stated that “the declining trend in operational performance of the bank has since has been reversed, with improvement in key financial indices”.
He said the bank’s balance sheet grew from N67.73 million in April 2017 to N158.84 billion as at January 31, 2021.
Giving the positive trajectory that NEXIM is on, he stated that the bank will continue with its “strategic partnerships for lines of credit and push for recapitalisation of the bank”.
The target of this efforts he said “is to achieve a Balance Sheet size of at least N1.2trillion in 2022”.
Speaking on the performance of NEXIM bank so far, he said the bank recorded a profit of N1.09 billion in 2018, N2.13 billion in 2019 and N1.28 billion in 2020 (because of COVID-19).
All these series of profits he said were achieved, “after a loss of N567 million in 2017 and a bigger loss of N8.03 billion in 2016. The profit decline in 2020 is due to the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, which necessitated the interest rebate and moratorium extension granted by the bank to its customers”.
Another reason for the string of successes recorded by NEXIM Bello said is attributed to the “introduction of aggressive debt recovery and proactive loan work out measures leading to increase in overall recoveries from only N200 million in December 2016 to N4.76 billion and US$750,000 between January 2017 and January 2021. In addition, assets worth about N7 billion are currently up for sale”.
Bello said NEXIM bank will “continue efforts to clean up the balance sheet and improvement in risk management practices with new loans granted from 2018 performing 100per cent, a major departure from the huge non-performing loans in the past”.
Following stakeholder engagements that the bank has engaged in so far and improved confidence in the current management, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bello said released N50 billion to the bank bank in February 2018 to implement the Export Development Programme.
The Fund was further increased to N100 billion in December 2020 following what Bello called “effective utilisation” of the earlier N50 billion.
NEXIM bank he said is doing so well that it has satisfied all its obligations and have opened new lines credit for itself.
Bello added that the bank is now collaborating with the CBN to manage the N500 billion Non-Oil Export Stimulation Facility, which has been introduced to provide long term funds to export oriented projects towards increasing value added exports.
Already, NEXIM’s activities under the Export Development Fund (EDF) Bello said has led to the processing of 227 applications worth N159.27billion and $37.67million, out of which N98.87 billion has been approved.
In addition, N68.01 billion has been disbursed to 68 beneficiaries, while approvals totalling N30.86 billion “are currently in the process of meeting pre-disbursement conditions” Bello said.
The CBN had raised the alarm that exporters were not repatriating their foreign exchange proceeds as they ought to. Speaking to this, Bello said: “So far, $182.31 million and €203,018.42, translating into N70.40billion, have been received as export proceeds from projects that have repatriated their income, while others are yet to complete the transaction circle”.
As part of NEXIM bank’s trade facilitation role and towards enhancing Nigeria’s readiness under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Bello said the bank is spearheading the Sealink Project aimed at fostering regional trade connectivity and facilitating inland waterways operations to support hinterland trade and bulk commodities exports, especially of solid minerals.
Already, NEXIM is engaging the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the Nigerian Navy and other private sector partners to ensure commencement of the Sealink operations within Q2, 2021. To this end, the Federal Government he said has approved the use of Ajaokuta jetty for the first transit shipment of solid minerals to other African ports.
There is also the Inter-State Road Transit Scheme designed to facilitate the transportation of goods by road across Customs territories free of duties, taxes, and restrictions while in transit in line with ECOWAS protocol.
NEXIM, Bello said “is the National Guarantor under the scheme whose role is to issue insurance bond to mitigate the risk of diversion”.