Minister for Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has said Nigeria’s economy is now firmly on the path of growth.
Udoma, who spoke in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, said he based his projection on the recently released Quarter Four by the National Bureau of Statistics(NBS).
The minister, who spoke in the presence of media practitioners, expressed delight that the report shows the strongest performance since the economy emerged from recession.
“It shows that 39 out of 46 economic activities are now growing. Agriculture is growing; manufacturing is growing, and services has recorded its best performance in 11 quarters. Particularly notable is the fact that the growth is driven by the non-oil sector, which has recorded its strongest growth since the fourth quarter of 2015. In short, we have turned the corner and are now firmly on the path of growth,” he said.
The senator, who said the current real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth performance is most encouraging, added that it shows a movement in a very positive direction, especially with regard to the non-oil sector performance. He assured that with the Buhari administration’s continuing commitment to the implementation of the Economic Reform and Governance Project (ERGP), the economy is expected to further strengthen in 2019, and over the medium term.
He said at inception, the administration faced real crisis in the economy, which included a sharp drop in oil revenues with consequent fiscal challenges, as the Federal Government had to struggle to meet its commitments, while many States were unable to pay salaries on a regular basis. Investors and businessmen complained about the difficulties they encountered in doing business in Nigeria; foreign reserves had dropped from $37.33 billion in June 2014, to $23.81 billion in September 2016, and inflation had risen from 9.2 percent in June 2015, and peaked at 18.5 percent in December 2016, coupled with exchange rate instability as the naira lost value in the parallel market, ultimately falling to as low as N520 to a dollar. These, he further explained, led to the economy dipping into recession by the second quarter of 2016, registering GDP contraction of -1.49 percent from where it dipped further to -2.34 percent by the third quarter. Government had to take immediate steps to stop the economic drift and reverse the collapse, he added.