Four Nigerian banks – Access, GTB, UBA, and Zenith, paid the sum of N1.52 billion to PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young (EY), as audit fees in the first half of 2020, from total revenue of N1.27 trillion.
PwC earned N1.24 billion, while EY got N282 million from the total.
Despite the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which put most aspect of the economy on hold in Q2 2020, two of the biggest audit firms in the country received a sum of N1.52 billion from four of the five tier–1 banks in Nigeria. The audit fees paid by the four banks however, declined by 5.23% compared with the N1.61 billion paid in the same period of 2019.
Audit fees as they paid
Access Bank paid a total of N467 million to PwC – the highest
GTBank paid N409 million to PwC
Zenith Bank paid N364 million to PwC
UBA paid N282 million to EY.
Access Bank paid N467 million in H1 2020, 16.8% less when compared with N561 million paid in H1 2019.
GTBank increased its audit expenses by 4.6%, from N391 million paid to PwC in H1 2019 to N409 million in H1 2020.
Zenith Bank paid a sum of N364 million to PwC in H1 2020, which represents a 3.9% decrease compared to N379 million paid to KPMG in H1 2019. It should be noted that Zenith Bank changed its Auditors in 2020 from KPMG to PwC.
UBA paid a sum of N282 million to EY in H1 2020, 2.5% more than the N275 million paid to PwC in H1 2019.
The four banks boast of a total asset value of N26.63 trillion, aggregate market value of N1.73 trillion as of 15th September 2020, and posted an aggregate profit after tax of N303.56 billion in H1 2020.
PWC audited three of the accounts under consideration with UBA being the only exception. It is handled by EY. Findings revealed that while PwC earned N1.24 billion (81.6%) out of the total audit fee of N1.52 billion, EY got only N282 million (18.4%).
The four banking giants posted an aggregate profit after tax of N303.6 billion in H1 2020, a marginal decrease of 1% compared to N306.6 billion posted in the comparable period of 2019. However, only Zenith Bank managed to record a positive growth in profit, as it grew its profit after tax by 16.8% from N88.9 billion in H1 2019 to N103.8 billion in H1 2020.
UBA on the other hand, recorded the highest negative growth in profit. It posted a profit after tax of N44.4 billion, as against N56.7 billion recorded in H1 2019. This is followed by GT Bank, which recorded a 4.9% decline in profit, from N99.1 billion to N94.3 billion. Access Bank posted a profit after tax of N61.04 billion, 1.4% decline compared with the N61.9 billion recorded in the previous year.
According to analysts, the decline in profit posted by the tier-1 banks could be attributed to the ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also reflected in the audit fees paid to auditors during the year. However, despite the economy contracting by 6.1% in Q2 2020, the banking sector saw its activities grow by a massive 28.4% (year-on-year).