Nigerias central bank (CBN) on Friday said two foreign banks, HSBC and UBS, have exited the country bringing the number of foreign banks to eight (8) at end-June 2018.

The apex bank, in its economic report for the first half of 2018, also revealed that three commercial banks failed to meet their minimum liquidity ratio of 30%.

CBN said non-performing loans dropped from 15% in 2017 to 12.4% as at June 2018, adding that the figure is still a long way above its 5% threshold.

The banking regulator did not also state the reasons why HSBC and UBS closed their offices.

Nigeria's central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele
Nigeria's central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele

HSBC in loggerheads with Nigerian government  over Nigerian economy

In July 2018, the global banking giant HSBC suggested that a second term for President Buhari risked prolonging economic stagnation for Africa's largest economy.

In its report titled, 'Nigeria: Papering Over The Cracks', the global bank painted the picture of a sluggish economy amid record-high unemployment rate, pushing the number of poverty to 87 million in Africa's populous nation.

The government dismissed the report and tagged the global bank as one of the killers of Nigeria's economy which supported the unbridled looting of state resources by leaders.

The Presidency also asked the bank to return stolen assets allegedly hidden in its coffers.

The health of Nigerian banks

CBN said, “the health of Nigerian banks improved in the review period, following the sustained recovery in macroeconomic conditions, including declining inflation, stable exchange rate and a gradual upswing in the real economy.”

Earlier in the year, Milost Global Inc., a New York-based private equity firm and Unity Bank Plc had issues over the proposed $1 billion investment into the bank.

In September, the apex bank withdrew the licence of Skye Bank for failing to meet up with recapitalisation requirement and transferred its asset to a 'bridge bank' now Polaris.

Recently, Diamond Bank Plc also denied plans to recapitalise amidst reports that it is talking with new investors to raise capital following the resignation of its chairman and three top executives.

Global investors keenly watch

MTN Group CEO, Rob Shuter
MTN Group CEO, Rob Shuter

Investors watch keenly as a Nigerian court adjourned hearing in a case between South African telecoms firm MTN Group and Nigeria’s central bank to December 4, 2018.

The CBN had in August ordered MTN to bring back $8.1 billion to the country, part of profits which the South African telecoms firm repatriated abroad. The authority also slammed the company an additional $2 billion tax bill. Both parties are now seeking mutually beneficial resolution.

All these issues have a negative impact on the nation's economy. In the first half of 2018, foreign direct investment in Nigeria fell to N379.84 billion compared to N532.63 billion recorded in 2017.