The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that it successfully recovered N264.04 billion from borrowers participating in its development financing programs during the first half of 2023. This represents a significant increase of 27.4% compared to the N207.33 billion recovered during the same period in the previous year, according to the bank’s half-year economic report for 2023.
However, a notable contradiction arises as earlier reports from the CBN’s 2022 half-year report indicated a recovery amount of N471.82 billion in H1 2022, raising questions about the accuracy and consistency of the data presented in the latest report.
The CBN acknowledged a reduction in the pace of its intervention loans in H1 2023, releasing N331.33 billion. This marks a 35.43% decrease from the N513.13 billion released in the corresponding period of the previous year. Despite the reduction in the number of projects funded, 63 projects, and the associated 134,275 individuals and businesses benefited from the bank’s 13 intervention programs.
In the report, the CBN highlighted its ongoing commitment to intervening in critical sectors of the economy. The reduction in the pace of intervention, relative to the previous and corresponding periods of 2022, was emphasized. The cumulative disbursement declined by 35.4%, but the repayment increased by 27.4%, reaching N264.04 billion.
The report stated, “Cumulative disbursement declined by 35.4% to N331.33 billion below N513.13 billion in the preceding half of 2022, while the repayment increased by 27.4% to N264.04 billion above N207.33 billion in the same period. The increase in recovery reflected the drive for payments.”
The CBN’s development finance interventions aim to support critical sectors, especially agriculture, to enhance access to credit, ensure price stability, and contribute to job creation and economic recovery. Despite these efforts, loan repayment by beneficiaries has been challenging, leading to additional measures, including the involvement of security agencies to assist in recovery.
Notably, President Bola Tinubu directed security agencies to support the CBN in the recovery process, particularly under the Anchor Borrowers Programme. In response to the repayment challenges, the CBN has suspended new loan applications under its Intervention Programme and tasked commercial banks with the responsibility of recovering outstanding loans issued under these programs. This move is part of the new CBN leadership’s effort to streamline financial commitments and refocus on more traditional central banking roles.