Presidency reacts to NBS report, insists economy performing better than IMF’s prediction

Nigerian economyOscarline Onwuemenyi
01 September 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Despite the economic recession that the country is presently facing, the Presidency on Wednesday declared that the Nigerian economy is performing better than the predictions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It, however, admitted that the inflation and unemployment rates in the country had remained high despite efforts by the current government.

Reacting to the figures trotted out by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which confirmed the nation’s worst economic recession in over a decade, the federal government remained bullish, saying that it remained optimistic of a turnaround.

In a reaction, the Presidency said although the gross domestic product (GDP) figures released by the NBS in its 2016 second quarter confirmed a temporary decline in the economy, it also indicated “an hopeful expectation in the country’s economic trajectory.”

A statement from the office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said beside the growth in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors, the Nigerian economy was doing better than estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Vice President said with the present administration’s policies, there were clear indications the second half of the year would be even much better.

“The Buhari presidency will continue to work diligently on the economy and engage with all stakeholders to ensure that beneficial policy initiatives are actively pursued and the dividends delivered to the Nigerian people,” he said.

In his reaction to the NBS report, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Mr. Adeyemi Dipeolu said, “The just recently released data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that Gross Domestic Product declined by -2.06% in the second quarter of 2016 on a year-on-year basis.

“A close look at the data shows that this outcome was mostly due to a sharp contraction in the oil sector, due to huge losses of crude oil production as a result of vandalisation and sabotage.

“However, the rest of the Q2 data is beginning to tell a different story. There was growth in the agricultural and solid minerals sectors, which are the areas in which the Federal Government has placed particular priority.”

Dipeolu noted that the report, while confirming a temporary decline, has also indicated what he called hopeful expectation in the country’s economic trajectory, stressing that there were clear indications that the second half of the year will be better.

“Besides the growth recorded in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors, the Nigerian economy in response to the policies of the Buhari presidency is also doing better than what the IMF had estimated with clear indications that the second half of the year would be even much better,” he said.

He noted, agriculture grew by 4.53 per cent in the second quarter of 2016, compared with 3.09 per cent in the first quarter.

Besides, he said the metal ores sector showed similar performance, with coal mining, quarrying and other minerals also showing positive growth of over 2.5 per cent, while the share of investments in GDP increased to its highest levels since 2010, growing to about 17 per cent of GDP.

Although the manufacturing sector was yet truly out of the woods, the adviser said the sector was beginning to show signs of recovery, with the service sector similar improvement.

The inflation rate remains high but the good news is that the month-on-month rate of increase has fallen continuously over the past three months.

He noted the high unemployment rate, which she said was usually the case during growth slowdowns.

“The emerging picture, barring unforeseen shocks, is the areas given priority by the Federal Government, are beginning to respond with understandable time lags to policy initiatives,” Dipeolu said.

“Indeed, as the emphasis on capital expenditure begins to yield results and the investment/GDP numbers increase, the growth rate of the Nigerian economy is likely to improve further,” he added.

The presidential aide assured that the current administration would continue to work diligently on the economy and engage all stakeholders to ensure that beneficial policy initiatives were actively pursued and the dividends delivered to the Nigerian people.

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