The reported recovery of the Nigerian economy from recession is an indication that the government’s various policies under the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, were yielding fruits, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said on Wednesday.
The minister, who was reacting to the latest National Gross Domestic Product, GDP, Report for the Second Quarter of 2017 released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, said this was also a confirmation that confidence was returning to the country’s economy.
The NBS report showed the second quarter GDP grew by 0.55 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms, indicating the emergence of the economy from recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since the first quarter of 2016.
The statistics agency said the growth was about 2.04 per cent higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 (–1.49 per cent) and higher by 1.46 per cent points from the rate recorded in the preceding quarter (revised to –0.91 per cent from –0.52 per cent).
On a quarterly basis, real GDP growth was 3.23 per cent, with aggregate GDP for the period at N26.99 trillion in nominal terms, compared to N23.55 trillion in the second quarter of 2016, resulting in a Nominal GDP growth of 14.6 per cent.
“That Nigeria has exited recession is a testimony to the fact that government is moving in the right direction economically,” Mr. Udoma said.
The two major objectives government focused on when the ERGP was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari early this year, the minister said, were to get the economy out of recession and then put it on the path of sustained inclusive and diversified growth.
He said now that government has accomplished the first task, attention would now be on growing the economy as rapidly as it could.
“We are happy that people are beginning to see the results of the efforts we have been putting in the last two years to get the economy back on track and place it on the path of growth and sustained development,” Mr. Udoma said.
He said as the economy continues to grow, “the people would feel the impact of the growth.”
The major focus of government, the minister said, would be to reflate the economy through spending in strategic sectors, like infrastructure, agriculture, solid minerals etc., to galvanise economic activities and empower the people.
Such efforts, he pointed out, have also been concentrated on increasing revenue generation to meet the challenges of the economy, adding that this was why the government has been giving attention to the challenges of the Niger Delta region.
“Efforts in this direction yielded real growth in the oil sector by 1.64 per cent (year-on-year) in the second quarter of 2017, representing an increase of 13.26 per cent, relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter in 2016,” the NBS report said.
“Growth also increased by 17.24 per cent, when compared to the first quarter of 2017. Quarter on quarter, the oil sector grew by 7.52 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, while the contribution to the total GDP in the second quarter of 2017 was 8.89 per cent,” it added.
Mr. Udoma described the growth recorded as ‘broad-based, as the non-oil sector showed improvements in the last two-quarters.’
For instance, he said the agriculture sector continued to grow in 2017, recording a 3.01 per cent growth in the second quarter of 2017.
Also, he said the positive growth of 1.45 per cent in the industrial sector during the same period was encouraging, while manufacturing, which recorded negative growth for most parts of 2015 and throughout 2016, turned positive in the first quarter of 2017. It increased by 0.64 per cent in the second quarter, he said.
However, he admitted it was “still early days,” as much more work still needed to be done to ensure that the growth was sustained.
“The Government will continue to pursue aggressively the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and work on improving the ease of doing business to attract more investments,” he said.
He asked for the cooperation of all Nigerians in supporting government’s effort to enhance the recovery rate and ensure the achievement of the objectives of the ERGP.