Our Diversification Strategies Yielding Results—FG
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The federal government has praised its economic diversification strategies, saying they are yielding the expected positive outcomes.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, while reacting to the 0.51 per cent growth printed by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2021, said this means Nigeria has officially exited recession.
In a statement issued by her Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Mr Yunusa Tanko Abdullahi, the Minister said the growth was particularly impressive because of the several challenges caused by low oil prices and the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs Ahmed said the quick exit from the woods indicated that some activities in the country have shown resilience, recording strong positive growth.
Considering the GDP projection for the Nigerian economy, the Minister had earlier said, “By 2021, the economy will recover from recession and it is the sustained implementation of good fiscal policies, the monetary policies and the economic sustainability plan by President Muhammadu Buhari that led to the country’s exit from the recession.”
Reacting to the latest GDP numbers, a foremost economic expert, Professor Uche Uwaleke, said the Q1 2021 GDP report reflects an economy already on the path of gradual economic recovery with a positive real GDP growth rate following that recorded in the previous quarter.
In a statement on Sunday, Mr Uwaleke noted that although the GDP at 0.51 per cent is still weak, it is interesting to note that the manufacturing sector is now out of the negative territory increasing from -1.51 per cent to 3.40 per cent.
According to him, what was “equally noteworthy is the moderation in the negative performance in the trade, accommodation and education sectors.”
“The increase recorded in the health sector from 3.05 per cent in Q4 of 2020 to 4.65 per cent clearly shows that the country is winning the war against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
He further said, “It is clear that the improved performance in the oil sector relative to the previous quarter was largely on account of improvement in average crude oil production.
“But the report also reveals a disturbing pattern in the real GDP growth rate. Declines were recorded in critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture, ICT, real estate and transportation. This may not be unconnected with the rising insecurity in the country.
“That the non-oil sector dropped should be of concern to both the fiscal and monetary authorities.”