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Naira Devaluation Affected GTBank’s Balance Sheet, Says Agbaje

The Group Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Segun Agbaje, has said that the naira was devalued by 200 per cent affecting the ability of banks to operate.

But Agbaje said GTCO will be the first Nigerian bank to post $1bn profit despite hash economic condition.

The company generated a net profit of N539.65bn an equivalent of $356.6m in 2023.

Agbaje said this during the fact behind the offer to raise N500bn capital monitored by THE WHISTLER.

He said, “We’re not thinking of the next couple of years as basic step growths, we’re thinking of the next few years where we separate this bank and this organization, this financial services group forever away from everybody.

“We want a market capitalization that Nigeria will be proud of. There is no Nigerian company that has ever made $1bn in profit and we’re going to be the first one so we’re going to give you that bill.”

Agbaje said the capital raise was necessary due to the devaluation of the naira by over 200 percent, adding that it has affected the ability of banks to do business.

The GTCO boss said the bank would have raised capital irrespective of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive for banks to inject fresh capital.

Agbaje said, “What’s the rationale for the equity raise? I’ve heard so many comments, banks don’t need equity, why do banks need equity? Banks need equity. We’ve just gone through about a 200 per cent devaluation. For those who understand the impact of that, the balance sheets have shrunk, the ability to do business has reduced.

“The government is also saying it wants a $1tn economy, you are not going to achieve a $1tn economy at this size of banks if you do not raise capital. So first of all, banks need capital.

“A devaluation also means there are possible Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) in the lives of people, depending on how you lived your life. We like to believe we’ve lived our lives well, so we might not be at risk, but some other people will be at risk and so they will need the capital.”

However, he said that the orthodox approach adopted by the CBN will stabilise the exchange rate and moderate inflation.

He said, “Forget what people think. This is a perfect time to invest in Nigeria. The country has moved into what I call an orthodox monetary policy situation. We live for years in an abnormal amount, and the exchange rate is completely overvalued and did not move.”

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