Foreign investment falls by $500m as HSBC, UBS shut Nigeria operations

Two global banking giants, HSBC Bank and UBS Group, have closed their offices in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, disclosed this on Friday. 

The apex bank also said foreign direct investment in Nigeria fell to N379.84 billion ($1.2 billion) in the first half of the year from N532.63 billion ($1.7 billion) a year earlier.

According to the central bank, the outlook for the Nigerian economy in the second half was optimistic given higher oil prices and production but rising foreign debt and uncertainty surrounding the 2019 elections was a drawback.

Investor confidence in Nigeria has been shaken since the central bank in August ordered MTN to bring back $8.1 billion to the country, part of profits which the South African telecoms firm sent abroad, the newswire noted.

HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations is headquartered in London while UBS is a Swiss multinational investment bank and financial services company that provides financial services to private, corporate and institutional clients in over 50 countries including Nigeria.

In September, HSBC Bank had predicted that re-electing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 could worsen Nigeria’s economic woes.

Although the CBN did not disclose the reasons for the HSBC closure, financial industry sources linked the development to the bank’s running battle with the federal government over its poor rating of the Buhari government’s economic policies.