Nigeria’s Economic Growth “Jobless Growth”—LCCI

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**Says GDP Still Below 3% Population Growth

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has described the growth path of the Nigerian economy as still weak, vulnerable and fragile.

This was made known in reaction to the release of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures of the Africa’s largest economy for the fourth quarter of 2018 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) earlier this week.

The stats office said in Q4 of last year, the nation’s economy grew by 2.4 percent in contrast to the 1.8 percent recorded in the third quarter of the year.

According to the LCCI, this growth mirrored the performance of the non-oil sector which improved by 2.7 percent year-on-year, with the full year GDP improving by 1.9 percent better than the 0.8 percent growth achieved in 2017.

For the LCCI, this performance is still weak and fragile because it is far below 3 percent annual population growth, emphasising that this remains a cause for concern due to its wider on inclusive and sustainable growth in the country.

Taking a look at the sectoral contribution to overall GDP in 2018, crop production, trade and telecoms were the major contributors.

Agriculture expanded by 2.1 percent in 2018, recording the lowest growth since 1993, with crop production emerging as the major driver of this sector performance, accounting for 88 percent of agricultural output in 2018. In terms of contribution, agriculture accounted for 25 percent of real output in the year.

Also, the Crude, Petroleum & Natural Gas sector contributed 8.60 percent to the GDP last with average daily oil production at 1.91 million barrel per day in fourth quarter 2018. This was lower than the 1.95 MBPD recorded in same quarter 2017. The oil sector grew by 1.1 percent as against 4.69 percent recorded in 2017.

In the GDP numbers, the manufacturing sector recorded an annual growth rate of 2.09 percent in 2018, marking a significant improvement of -0.21 percent in the previous year, contributing about 9.20 percent to overall GDP.

Furthermore, trade sector contracted by -0.63 percent in 2018 from -1.05 percent and -0.24 percent in 2016, contributing 17.16 percent in 2018. The declining performance of this sector signifies that Nigerian consumers are still under severe pressure in terms of weak purchasing power, as trade is a major consumer facing sector.

However, Telecommunication and Information services sector grew by 11.33 percent in 2018 from -2.04 percent in 2017 and 2.03 percent in 2016, contributing about 10 percent to overall GDP.

In its notes, LCCI said the growth was far below the country’s population growth of 3.0 percent, with wider implications for poverty, inclusive and sustainable growth.

It pointed out that sectors such as Trade, Manufacturing and Agriculture recorded low performance, signifying weakness on the part of the consumers purchasing power.

“The growth in the economy is also tagged a ‘Jobless growth’ as unemployment keeps on rising. The latest report by poverty world clock also suggests that the number of extremely poor Nigerians has risen to 91.6 million.

“We suggest that policies and reforms that will attract investment into the key employment elastic sectors should be implemented,” the LCCI said.

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