The Fourth Quarter 2018 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) results released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) give lots of cause to cheer. This is according to a statement made available on Thursday by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity) on improvements in Nigeria’s economy. Below are salient points to note from the report, as the Muhammadu Buhari administration puts the Nigerian economy on firm, solid footing:
1. The economy has recorded continued progress since it emerged from recession in 2017. Current result shows a Real GDP growth of 2.38% compared to 1.81% in the third quarter of last year, representing the strongest growth since the economy slipped into recession in 2016.
2. For more than five decades, Nigeria has paid lip service to diversifying the economy, from sole dependence on oil. The latest result shows that economic growth has continued to be driven by the non-oil sector, which grew by 2.70% in the last quarter of 2018, up from 2.32% in the third quarter of 2018. It represents the strongest growth in the sector since 2015.
3. The non-oil GDP growth was driven by Quarrying and Other Minerals, followed by Telecommunications, Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Construction. That is diversification in progress, real time, no matter what the naysayers may say.
4. While the non-oil sector actually drove GDP growth, the oil sector contracted with crude oil and gas GDP reducing by -1.62%. This shows that with good governance, focus, prudence and accountability, the life of the country need not depend on oil ad infinitum.
5. The NBS report further shows that Services GDP growth recorded its best performance in 11 quarters, growing by 2.90% compared to 2.64% in the third quarter of 2018 and 0.10% in the last quarter of 2017. Overall, while growth in the economy was moderated by the contraction in the oil sector, 39 out of 46 economic activities recorded positive growth in the quarter under review.
6. The improved GDP growth can be attributed to Government’s continuous implementation of the policy initiatives in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which has boosted the performance of the non-oil sector.
7. The growth in the last quarter of 2018, GDP is consistent with the improvements in other macroeconomic indicators, including inflation, capital inflows, foreign trade, external reserves, amongst others.
8. Headline inflation has been trending downwards from 18.55% as at December 2016 to 15.37% in December 2017 and further to 11.44% in December 2018.
9. The total value of capital importation into Nigeria stood at $2,140 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. This translates to a full year capital inflow of $16,812 million compared to $12,228 million in 2017.
10. Although the economy is now growing, more still must be done to deepen its diversification and make it less vulnerable to external shocks. That is an unflinching commitment of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The statement added that “Those who do not see any good in something not initiated by them toil endlessly to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that nothing good is happening on the economic front. But facts are stubborn things. The more they try to deny the facts, the more they rudely stare at them in the face.”