Opinion

Economy: Our efforts are yielding fruits – Udoma

The recovery of the Nigerian economy from recession is an indication that the various policies of government towards reflating the economy, as set out in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), are yielding fruits, and confidence is returning to the Nigerian economy.

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who was reacting to the Second Quarter Report on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released on Tuesday September 5, 2017 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which shows that Nigeria has exited recession, said it was a testimony to the fact that government is moving in the right economic direction.

The Minister noted that two major objectives were in focus when the ERGP was launched by the President early this year – to get the economy out of recession and then put it on the path of sustained inclusive and diversified growth. “Now that we have accomplished the first task, attention will now be on growing the economy as rapidly as we can”, he said.

According Financial Edge, the NBS report showed that in the second quarter of 2017, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.55 percent year-on-year in real terms, indicating the emergence of the economy from recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since first quarter of 2016.

The growth is 2.04 percent higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 (–1.49 percent) and higher by 1.46 percent points from the rate recorded in the preceding quarter (revised to –0.91 percent from –0.52 percent). Quarter on quarter, real GDP growth was 3.23%. During the quarter, aggregate GDP stood at N26,986,005.20million in nominal terms, compared to N23,547,466.91 million in the second quarter of 2016, resulting in a Nominal GDP growth of 14.60 percent.

“We are happy that people are beginning to see the results of the efforts we have been putting through in the last two years to get the economy back on track and to place it on the path of growth and sustained development,” Udoma said; adding that as the economy continues to grow, the people will feel the impact of the growth.

The Minister pointed out that the major focus of government was to reflate the economy through spending in strategic sectors like infrastructure, agriculture, solid minerals etc., to galvanise economic activities and empower the people.

Efforts, he said, have also been concentrated on increasing revenue generation to meet with the challenges of the economy which was why government has been giving attention, among other things, to the challenges of the Niger Delta region.

Efforts in this direction yielded real growth in the oil sector by 1.64 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2017 representing an increase of 13.26 percent relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter in 2016. Growth also increased by 17.24 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2017. Quarter on quarter, the oil sector grew by 7.52 percent in the second quarter of 2017 and the contribution to the total GDP in the second quarter of 2017 is 8.89 percent., according to the NBS report.

The Minister said it was gratifying to note that the growth recorded is broad-based, as the non-oil sector showed improvements in the last two quarters. For instance, the Agriculture sector continued to grow in 2017 recording a 3.01 percent growth in the second quarter of 2017.

He also noted that Industry recorded positive growth of 1.45 percent during the same period while manufacturing which has been recording negative growth for most parts of 2015 and throughout 2016, turned positive in the first quarter of 2017 and increased by 0.64 percent in the second quarter.

The Minister, however, admitted that it was still early days as much more work needs to be done to ensure that the growth is sustained. Therefore, government will continue to pursue aggressively the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. Government is also working on improving the ease of doing business to attract more investments.

While appreciating the efforts of all concerned in the drive towards the country’s economic recovery, the Minister said government will require the cooperation of all Nigerians to enhance the recovery rate and ensure the achievement of the objectives of the ERGP.

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