Nigeria Ought to Rebase Economy 2017—NBS Boss
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr Yemi Kale, has disclosed that Nigeria was supposed to rebase its economy this year, but as things stand, such may never happen.
Dr Kale told Economic Confidential in an interview in Abuja that money was not released by the Federal Government to carry out this exercise.
He said in the interview that, “We are supposed to have to done it (rebase) this year, but no allocation to that effect.
“Every country does it maximum five years. The United States of America does it once a year. Those ones have more money, so they do it every year, apart from the fact that their economy is more dynamic.
“Technology is changing so many things so they have to upgrade all the time. If you don’t rebase your economy, it is like as if you are using Betamark system.
“When we rebased the economy, the politicians grabbed it because it favoured them. If it were in the negative, nobody will even talk about it.
“I was surprised to see at the election period that APC went to our website to retrieve all the positive figures and refused to accept the ones tagged negative.
“PDP too took all the positives and refused the poverty rate figures! Meanwhile all of them are NBS data.
“I have seen a Minister who agreed with chapter two of our report and said chapter three was not correct. While commending us for a job well done on chapter two, chapter three was tagged not correct; the same document!”
Speaking further on the economic, the renowned Economist said all things being equal, the Nigeria will get out of recession next year.
“If all prices do not collapse including Niger Delta crisis, by 2018 we would have recovered,” Dr Kale told Economic Confidential.
He said further, “It was an extremely difficult period and we all felt it. I will say that most of the indicators suggest that we are coming out of it.
“We have not come out of it yet. As if the worst has already happened and it’s a low process of recovery. Now there is what we call technical recovery as different from the recovery Nigerians would prefer.
“When you tell somebody, the economy is coming out of recession, they would say what do you mean. After all, prices are still high.
“Coming out of recession means positive growth. And your positive growth can be plus zero point one (+0.1). That does not mean everything is fine. It technically means you are no longer in negative again,” said Dr Kale.
He further posited that the fact that you are no longer in negative does not translate to be buoyant, stressing that there is going to be a gradual process of recovery as things are improving.
“At least all the indicators are suggesting things are getting better. People always make this mistake when we say inflation is slowing down. Slowing down of Inflation does not mean prices are coming down.
“Inflation by definition is always a rise in price. All we are saying is that increase is not as much as before. Before it went up by 100 percent, but this time it went up by 50 percent. Having double digit inflation figure is still huge and a problem.
The fact that it went down from 18 percent to 17 percent and now to 16 percent shows improvement. But I can tell you 16 percent is not good but a huge problem”, he said.
According to him, “If the trend continues, by the end of the year things should have normalized and by 2018 Nigerians would now see the benefit of the recovery.