By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has lauded the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) third quarter figures which showed improvement in the nation’s economy with oil, agriculture and industrial sectors leading the charge.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, the latest GDP figures released by the NBS was a clear indication of ongoing progress in the Nigerian economy.
It said the administration welcomes the new growth figures, adding that the government will continue to work diligently and on a daily basis to ensure inclusive growth, through the active pursuit of a raft of policy initiatives.
Such initiatives, according to it, include but not limited to the Social Investment Programmes, Anchor Borrowers Scheme, longstanding Budget Support Facilities to the States, plus other bailout packages, ensuring the comprehensive payment of workers’ salary and pension backlogs among others.
Equally, it said the Federal Government will be ramping up the implementation pace of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“The latest NBS GDP figures show that the Nigerian economy grew by 1.4% year-on-year in real terms in the third quarter of 2017 (Q3 2017). This is a steady continuation of the positive growth of 0.55% (now revised to 0.72%) experienced in Q2 2017 and reinforces the exit from the 2016 recession.
“The positive growth in Q3 is consistent with the improvements in other indicators. Foreign exchange reserves have risen to nearly $34 billion while stock market and purchasing managers indices have also been positive.
“The naira exchange rate has stabilised while inflation has declined to 15.91% from 18.7 in January 2017. While inflation is not declining as fast as desirable, it is approaching the estimated target of 15.74% for the year in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“Agricultural growth was 3.06% in the third quarter of 2017, maintaining the positive growth of the sector even when there was a slow-down in the rest of the economy.
“The industrial sector grew at 8.83% mostly due to mining and quarrying. The oil sector grew very strongly as forecast in the ERGP and partly as a result of the policy actions in the plan to restore growth in the sector.
“The service sector is yet to recover but should soon begin to be positively affected by the improvements in the real economy and the effects of the dedicated and focused capital spending of over N1.2 trillion on infrastructure by the Federal Government.
“It is expected that the economy will continue to grow given these developments and the reform, and improvements in the business environment shown by the upward movement of 24 places in the recently released World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings which was better than the target of 20 places specified in the ERGP.
“The overall picture that emerges is that the economy is on the path of recovery. As inflation trends downwards, and with steady implementation of the ERGP, real growth should soon be realised across all sectors in a mutually reinforcing manner.”