By G9ija

The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), has declared that it had arrested the declining trend in its operational performance, improving in key financial indices, with a target to post a N1.2 trillion balance sheet size by 2022.

From a performance of N67.73 billion in April 2017 to N158. 84 billion posted by the bank as at January 31, 2021, its Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Abba Bello, is upbeat that with continued positive performance, increased strategic partnerships for lines of credit and the push for the recapitalisation of the bank, a N1.2 trillion balance sheet will be achieved by 2022.

Bello, who briefed journalists in Abuja, noted that since the emergence of the current management, the bank achieved a profit of N1.09 billion in 2018, N2.13 billion in 2019 and N1.28 billion in 2020.

He however revealed that after a loss of N567 million in 2017, the bank posted another even bigger loss of N8.03 billion in 2016.

He attributed the profit decline in 2020 to the impact of the COVID -19 pandemic on businesses, which necessitated the interest rebate and moratorium extension granted by the bank to its customers.

Bello stated that NEXIM Bank introduced an aggressive debt recovery and proactive loan work-out measures, leading to an increase in overall recoveries from only N200 million in December 2016 to N4.76 billion and N$750, 000 between January 2027 and January 2021.

According to him, assets worth about N7 billion are also currently up for sale.

Assuring that the bank would keep cleaning the balance sheet and improve in risk management practices, he added that loans granted from 2018 were performing 100 per cent.

He observed that this was a major departure from the huge non-performing loans (NPLs) in the past, which have now dropped by over 51 per cent.

The bank’s interventions, he disclosed, have sustained over 11,000 jobs between 2018 and now and generated exports of about $200 million.

Bello regretted that the bank in its 30 years of existence generated a sum of $1.3 billion, out of which $200 million was under the current management which took over in 2017.

According to him, the $200 million came largely from the trading of Nigerian exports, noting that the major focus is to support the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Bello, who assured that NEXIM’s focus is to move Nigerian exports into the global value chain, expressed satisfaction that the bank has met virtually all obligations to the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) which blocked lines of credit due to a default in servicing facilities under previous managements.

On intervention funds, Bello stated that following the high-level of confidence in the current management, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released N50 billion to the bank in February 2018 to implement the Export Development Programme.

The Fund, he said, was further enhanced to N100 billion in December 2020 following effective utilisation.

He stated: “The Bank is also collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria to manage the N500billio Non-oil Export Stimulation Facility, which has been introduced to provide long-term funds to export- oriented projects.”