Following the announcement by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.11 per cent in Q4’20, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and stakeholders in the private sector have expressed surprise at Nigerian economy’s exit from recession amid unending negative trajectories that marred the end of the year economic performances. While they expressed delight over the development, they, however, challenged the government to tackle insecurity as well advising the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to do more in defending the naira.
Director-General of LCCI, Dr. Muda Yusuf, in an interview with the New Telegraph, said that the improvement in quarterly output performance as real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rose by 0.11 per cent in Q4-2020, compared to 3.62 per cent contraction in the preceding quarter was not expected by the private sector and also some sections of the investing public. Yusuf said: “LCCI notes the improvement in quarterly output performance as real GDP growth rose by 0.11 per cent in Q4 2020, compared to 3.62 per cent contraction in the preceding quarter. “The quarterly performance was a pleasant surprise.
The economy ended year 2020 in a negative growth region, with annual GDP growth declining by 1.92 per cent, its lowest level since 1994.” According to him, from the analysis of the just-released GDP report, the following sectors were the top performing in the fourth quarter 2020: quarrying and other minerals (48.42 per cent); telecommunications & information services (17.64 per cent), cement (6.59 per cent), broadcasting (4.42 per cent) and crop production (3.68 per cent).
In addition, the chamber pointed out that the worst sectoral contractions were in petroleum refining (-56.5 per cent), air transport (-51.69 per cent), coal mining (-23.16 per cent), crude petroleum & natural gas (-19.76 cent) and accommodation & food services (-15.03 cent). Also reacting, Fiscal Policy Partner and West Africa Tax Leader at PwC, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, said the positive growth was a good omen for the economy, as it signifies recovery. “If Q1’21 turns out positive, then we will technically be out of recession,” he said.
On his part, the Managing Director, Crane Securities Limited, Mr. Mike Eze, described it as a welcome development, saying it would attract investment into the country. “What grows the economy is productivity. However, the sustainability will depend on the efforts of the authorities to address the issue of credit facilities and also ability of the CBN to defend the naira.
It is good news because it will boost foreign investors’ interest in the country. “With Nigeria’s economic rebound powered by sustainable resources such as manufacturing, agriculture and trade, the overall outlook continues to appear quite encouraging.
While oil was also a player in the nation’s recovery, it should be kept in mind this source of growth may be temporary, as Nigeria still remains in an ongoing quest to diversify its interests away from oil reliance,” he said. On its part, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the development gave credence that President Muhammadu Buhari walks the talk on its promises. Secretary of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Senator John AkpanUdoedehe, said: “President Buhari promised Nigeria will exit economic recession within a short time. That promise has been kept.
“Commendably, Nigeria’s exit from recession is the country’s first growth in three quarters amid the Coronavirus restrictions and consequent economic slowdown. It was not a fluke, but as a result of wellplanned measures lined up by the Federal Government to ensure a quick exit.
“The early exit was as a result of among others the successful implementation of the Federal Government’s Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) which ensured reflating and stimulating of the economy to prevent business collapse; retaining and creating jobs through support to labour intensive sectors such as agriculture and direct labour interventions; infrastructural investments in roads, rails, bridges; promoting manufacturing and local production as a way of creating job opportunities and pro-poor spending and other social investments targeting the very poor and other vulnerable groups. “Nigerians will agree that the past era of profligacy, voodoo economics and waste which brought our economy to its knees is fast fading. With continued support for the President Buhari government, the economy can only get better.”