The Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr Jim Ovia, has toed the same line as the Federal Government and the World Bank, by projecting growth for the country’s economy in 2019. He, however, did not give any specifics in terms of numbers.
Subdued economic growth in 2019 – According to Mr Ovia, while Nigeria’s economy will experience growth, it will be a subdued growth. He made this assertion during the Zenith Bank’s 28th Annual General Meeting (AGM) which held today at the Civic Centre, in Lagos, and covered by Nairametrics.
The projection is in tandem with the Federal Government’s – The Federal Government had projected the economy will grow at the rate of 3.01 per cent in 2019, up from 1.93 per cent last year. Similarly, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and The World Bank, both estimated that Nigeria’s economy will rise by 2 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively.
His projection is based on improvement in non-oil sector – Although Mr Ovia wasn’t specific about the growth rate, he backed his 2019 economy projection with the gradual improvement of the non-oil sectors, which he said will continue in the short to medium term.
“Subdued growth is expected in the Nigerian economy similar to 2018, albeit the growth prospect for 2019 is brighter. The beacon of optimism in the outlook for 2019 is gradual improvement in the performance of the non-oil sectors and their contribution to the GDP which is expected to continue in the short to medium term.”
Several Vagaries for the economy
The role of some unpredictable activities – Despite his positive outlook for 2019 economy, Jim Ovia said there’s a possibility of unpredictable or erratic activities relating to the economy. This might have prevented him from giving specifics on the number growth like the Federal Government, IMF and World Bank did.
He, however, said there are downsides to the economy’s performance in the year under review. Ovia also shared his projection for the global economy performance, which he said could be affected by factors including trade tension.
“The major downsides to Nigeria’s growth outlook for 2019 are significant fall in global crude oil price, and disruption to optimal oil production. The downside to global outlook are weak commodities prices and international trade tension.
“In view of these, we shall continue to be pragmatic in our projections while continually creating value for all our shareholders.”
Zenith Bank’s financial performance
He expressed joy over the result – Jim Ovia was ecstatic about the financial result the tier-one bank pulled in 2018. He said with the global and domestic factors that affected the growth of businesses in the financial sector, Zenith Bank continued with its impressive track record.
The growth in the bank’s finances was linked to the ability of Zenith Bank to fully exploit the opportunities within the banking sector environment.
“Clearly, the results are, once again, a reflection of the exceptional financial health of the Bank and the Group.”
Total deposits – Zenith Bank had recorded total deposits of N3.69 trillion for the year ended December 31, 2018, representing a 7 per cent increase over the previous year’s figure of N3.43 trillion.
Profit-Before-Tax – The company’s profit-before-tax rose by 16 per cent, from N199 billion in 2017 to N231 billion in 2018.
Profit-After-Tax – Zenith Bank’s Profit-After-Tax was N193 billion in 2018, increasing by 11 per cent, from N173 billion in 2017.
Total Assets – Meanwhile, the Total Assets of Zenith Bank was said to have grown by 6 per cent from N5.59 trillion to N5.95 trillion.
Shareholders’ fund – The Shareholders’ fund increased by 0.5 per cent, from N812 billion to N816 billion.
Gross Earnings – Zenith Bank recorded a decline by 15.4 per cent from N745 billion in year 2017 to N630 billion in 2018.
Dividend – Zenith Bank declared a final dividend of 250 kobo per share, after earlier proposing an interim dividend of 30 kobo. This, therefore, brings the total dividend for the year ended December 31, 2018 to 280 Kobo per share, as against 270 Kobo per share paid in 2017.