Energy firms owe Nigerian banks N4t ($20b) as of September 2015, according to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Vanguard reports. The amount represents more than 30% of private sector loans in Nigeria and was a 14.3% increase from August. The figures, which are released each quarter, are watched to examine the health of the energy and banking sectors, among others.
By sector, the report stated that downstream, natural gas, and crude oil refining companies owed around N2.241t – higher than the N1.806t owed in August 2015 and N2.047t owed in December 2014. Similarly, upstream oil and gas service companies owed N1.212t in the latest period, compared to N1.217t in August 2015 and N1.099t in December 2014.
Additionally, power projects and power generating companies’ indebtedness stood at N359.568b, against N328.38b in August and N276.125b in December 2014. Power transmission and distribution companies owed N169.4b, rising from N131.7b in August and N150.88b in December 2014.
The news comes as the Nigerian government may need to increase borrowing to support its budget amid low oil prices. Sun News reports that the government budget, which requires a $38 per barrel oil price, may need to be supplemented with debt, domestically or internationally. The Nigerian Central Bank report has net claims on the Nigerian government at N3.75t.