The Presidential Adviser on Economic Matters, Adeyemi Dipeolu, has said that the statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, showed that the economy has maintained a very slow path to recovery, to the disappointed of Nigerians.
This came at a time when it was declared by All Progressives Congress, APC, forces, that the nation is “technically out of recession”.
According to Dipeolu, it is an encouraging indication of a steady, even if slow, progressive pace. He said that by the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, figure, the Nigerian economy was emerging out of recession.
“The 2017 Q1 GDP figures, released Tuesday, depict an overall picture showing the economy is emerging slowly out of recession”, he said.
Dipeolu however, observed that slowdown in negative growth rates, was noticed in several more sectors.
“The latest figures released by the NBS, showed that the economy shrank by 0.52 percent in the first quarter of 2017 (Q1 2017).
“Although the economy remains in recession, this is the strongest performance in five quarters, and shows a significant turnaround from the low of -2.34 percent reached in the third quarter of 2016 (Q3 2016).
“This is nearly two percentage point improvement. It also reflects the fact that the number of sub-sectors that experienced negative growth has almost halved, falling from 29 sub-sectors for the whole of 2016, to 16 sub-sectors in Q1 2017”, the Presidential Aide said.
He observed that agricultural growth remained in positive territory, although growing at a slower rate of about 3.4 percent, due to seasonal factors.
He also said that growth in manufacturing on the other hand, returned to positive territory after five quarters of negative growth. It grew by 1.36 percent in Q1 2017, after falling to a nadir of -7.0 percent in Q1 2016.
Dipeolu hinted that the solid mineral sector continued to justify the priority given to it by the Federal Government, with high double digit growth for metal ores at 40.79 percent, and quarrying at 52.54 percent.
He noted that growth in the oil sector remained negative at -11.64 percent, although with over six percentage point improvement in its fortunes from the previous quarter.
“More significantly, the non-oil sector, which accounts for about 90 percent of the GDP, returned to positive growth, although at a marginal level of 0.72 percent in Q1 2017.
“This is the first positive growth in the non-oil sector since the last quarter of 2015.
“Headline inflation fell for the third month in a row to 17.24 percent, with core inflation also declining quite rapidly”, Dipeolu noted.
He however, said that food inflation remained of concern, as it continued to trend upwards.
“This is mainly due to rising transport costs and other structural impediments, to the movement of foods in the domestic market.
“The trade balance remained positive, reflecting import contraction and relatively higher export revenues which grew year-on-year by up to 80.5 percent.
“The overall picture that the figures show, is that the economy is emerging slowly out of recession”, he concluded.
Dipeolu further explained that the outlook was reinforced by positive trends in other indicators, such as improved oil prices and increasing production, in addition to rising foreign exchange reserves.
He added that, increased capital spending by the Federal Government, as well as improved perceptions reflected in various purchasing and sales managers’ indices, also assisted in the growth.
“Barring major economic shocks, it should still be possible to restore growth this year, as projected in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan”, he said.