Nigeria now Africa’s largest econ­omy – FG

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Hamisu Muhamamd & Olayemi R. Ibrahim

The Federal Govern­ment re­based Nigeria’s Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­ucts (GDP), mak­ing the na­tion’s econ­omy the largest in Africa ahead of South Africa.

The GDP which is the mar­ket value of all fi­nal goods and ser­vices pro­duced within a coun­try in a given pe­riod, has in­creased by 89.22 per­cent in Nigeria, mak­ing the coun­try to also be ahead of Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore and Den­mark in the global rank­ing.

The fig­ure was re­leased by the Statis­ti­cian Gen­eral of the Fed­er­a­tion, Dr. Yemi Kale, who said the re­sults also in­di­cate that Nigeria is the largest econ­omy in Africa and the 26th largest in the world.

He said: “A key find­ing is that the econ­omy, like that of many other mid­dle-in­come coun­tries like Thai­land, Malaysia and Egypt, is be­com­ing more ser­vice-driven as the ser­vices sec­tor has ex­panded sig­nif­i­cantly.”

The re­sults from the re­cal­cu­lated ex­er­cise in­di­cated that nom­i­nal GDP is much higher than that pre­vi­ously es­ti­mated.

“In 2013, the re­based year the nom­i­nal stood at N80, 222,128.32 bil­lion, rep­re­sent­ing 89.22 per­cent as against N71, 186,534.89 bil­lion in 2011, rep­re­sent­ing 69.10 per­cent.”

Kale said the re­sult of the GDP re­vealed bet­ter di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the Nigeria econ­omy than ear­lier thought, adding that struc­ture of the econ­omy has changed sig­nif­i­cantly.

The real GDP post-re­bas­ing es­ti­mated at 5.9 per­cent in 2011, 6.66 per­cent in 2012 and 7.41 in 2013.

The Min­is­ter of Fi­nance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said dur­ing the re­lease of the re­sult that the new GDP stood at 453,966.82 (GDP cur­rent US $ mil­lion) which made Nigeria the largest in Africa from the old 258,555.58.

She said: “We did not set out to be­come the big­gest econ­omy in Africa. We set out to mea­sure how much the econ­omy has changed. And that is the out­come. Be­com­ing the largest econ­omy on the con­ti­nent is a pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment but it is not des­ti­na­tion. The knowl­edge de­rived will help us make bet­ter poli­cies to grow the econ­omy and cre­ate job for young Nige­ri­ans.”

Okonjo-Iweala said the re­sult took so long to come out be­cause re­bas­ing is a rig­or­ous and stre­neous ex­er­cise, adding that the ef­fort of the Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics has yielded great re­sult.

In his re­ac­tion to the de­vel­op­ment, Dr. Muham­maed Mut­taka Us­man of the Eco­nom­ics Depart­ment, Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity, Zaria, told Daily Trust that the fig­ure is one thing and eco­nomic pros­per­ity is an­other.

Us­man, how­ever, ex­pressed his doubt about the cal­cu­la­tion of the fig­ure, say­ing there was need for in­de­pen­dent bod­ies to cal­cu­late.

He asked: “Let’s take the level of un­em­ploy­ment, are we com­fort­able with what we have on the ground? Just last two weeks, in this coun­try, 600,000 people ap­plied for just 4,000 jobs, so it tells you the mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem of un­em­ploy­ment we have. And an­other ex­am­ple, if you take this fig­ure and com­pare with what the World Bank re­leased on poverty in­dex which placed Nigeria on low bot­tom and now you are say­ing Nigeria is the first in Africa, does that fig­ure tally?

Us­man said that a look at the coun­tries Nigeria has now sur­passed, re­vealed that things were work­ing there whereas, here noth­ing works. He ob­served: “We have an econ­omy that is run on gen­er­a­tors, as at now, we have only 3,000 mw of elec­tric­ity, we have a less than 18-hour econ­omy, ev­ery econ­omy that must progress at this rate, must be 24 hours econ­omy, but here by 6pm ev­ery­body is off due to in­se­cu­rity or other things.

“Fixed in­come in­vestors will prob­a­bly not pay much at­ten­tion to the GDP dy­nam­ics,” Stan­dard Bank’s Samir Ga­dio told Reuters in Lon­don, yes­ter­day.

De­spite roar­ing growth in re­cent years and a big­ger GDP, Nigeria will con­tinue to trail South Africa in terms of ba­sic in­fra­struc­ture - power and roads - nec­es­sary to lift the bulk of its pop­u­la­tion of 170 mil­lion out of ab­so­lute poverty.

“South Africa is go­ing to stay the en­try point for funds into Africa, I don’t think (it will move to) Nigeria,” Ri­gaardt Maartens, a port­fo­lio man­ager at PSG On­line Se­cu­ri­ties told Reuters.

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