By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
The federal government declared yesterday that Nigeria has fully exited recession, following the latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics. The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udoma, disclosed this after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa.
He recalled that the NBS had indicated in its latest report that in the last quarter of 2017, the economy continued its positive growth trajectory by growing by 1.92%. According to him, this is higher than the previous quarter when it grew by 1.40% and higher still from the 2nd Quarter when it grew by 0.72%.
He said, “The numbers clearly show that the economy has fully exited recession. Council members were particularly pleased to note that this growth is very broad, with Agriculture growing at 4.23% up from 3.06% in the 3rd Quarter.
“Other sectors such as Transportation and storage, Electricity and gas production, Metal Ores, and Industry all grew. Particularly noteworthy were the growth recorded in Trade (2.07% and Services o.10%) after six quarters of negative growth. Council members were also happy to note that overall, the non-oil sector grew by 1.45%, its strongest since 2015.
“Inflation is also trending downwards moving down from 18.72% in January 2017 to 15.13% in January 2018. Council members were also happy to see the increasing private sector confidence in the ERGP and other policies and programmes of the Buhari administration as evidenced by the increasing capital inflows.
Udoma said capital inflows in 2017 were US$12.228 million, a growth of 138.6% over the total inflow in 2016 of US$5.124 million. He further explained that this has been a factor in the build-up of the country’s foreign reserves, which have grown from US$23.81 billion in September 2016 to almost US$42 billion.
He stated: “Council members however agreed that whilst these positive results are most encouraging, particularly in the light of where we were in the last few years, the current growth rate is still rather modest. “We have to continue to work even harder to achieve the goals of the ERGP of diversifying the economy and achieving our growth targets of 3.5% this year, and 7% by 2020.
“And of course, one of the ways we are intensifying implementation of the ERGP is the ERGP focus labs, which will be launched next week Tuesday, 13th March, by Mr President”. Nigeria had exited its worst stage of recession in decades in September last year.
On his part, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali gave a breakdown of activities in his ministry in the last two years. He said, “The presentation covers the strategic policies of the ministry which is to build and maintain flexible, compact and highly trained Armed forces capable of defending the territorial integrity of the nation.
“The brief also covers the serviceability of the military platforms, operational readiness, future projections and the way forward. During the period under review the ministry received a timely consideration and approval of its capital projects and the Armed Forces in general.
“This, no doubt, resulted to the successes recorded so far in the fight against terrorists and other security challenges in the country. It is pertinent to state that prior to assumption of office by President Muhammadu Buhari, most of the military platforms and hardware were old, worn out, non-functional and obsolete. “However, it is gratifying to mention that this administration has made tremendous efforts in the provision of funds for the acquisition of modern military hardware to meet up with security challenges”.