Cash-strapped banks borrowed N338.5bn from the Central Bank of Nigeria in January to bridge their funding gap, according to the banking data. Figures from the CBN’s monthly report for January on ‘Standing facilities window operation’ showed that the banks continued to utilise the Standing Lending Facility and Deposit Lending Facility in the sector.
It stated that, “Activities at the standing facility window during the period reflected improved banking system liquidity.
“Total Standing Lending Facility contracted considerably by 52.4 per cent to N338.4bn from N711.54bn in December 2021, fallout of the improved banking system liquidity in the period.
“In addition, the activity at the inter-bank call segment contributed to the significant decline in SLF.
“Transactions at the Standing Deposit Facility increased by 7.0 per cent to N246.21bn from N230.22bn in the preceding month, further buttressing liquidity condition in the market.”
The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, did not pick calls or respond to text messages seeking comments. Bank officials declined comments on the development. However, industry expert and the Managing Director, Lancelot Ventures Limited, Adebayo Adeleke, said the public cannot go and deposit money or withdraw money from the CBN.
He said, “The CBN is the bank of last resort, it is the only one authorised to print naira. The only bank that should not run dry is CBN. They also control the banks by ensuring that the banks maintain some levels of deposits with CBN.
“The CBN technically speaking is bankers’ bank. All the banks bank with CBN, they deposit money and also bank with the CBN and that is why the CBN is able to control the influx of the naira into the economy, regulate the interest rates, increasing Monetary Policy Rate and others.
“So they set the temple for the control of money. The CBN is the bankers’ bank, the bank of the last resort and the bank of the Federal Government.”
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr Johnson Chukwu, said, “The banks borrow from the CBN to meet their funding gap. The SDR and SLR also move regularly. But remember that the banks also keep money in the Central Bank.”
A former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr Sam Nzekwe, said, “The banks have to take from the CBN because it is the bank of the last resort. CBN is also keeping part of their money which they cannot lend.
“They borrow money from the CBN when they don’t have where to borrow money from and they are short of cash. They borrow from the CBN and pay back.”