The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics ( NBS) during the week told us what we already know- that Nigeria is in recession. To me, Nigeria has always been in recession and they just stated the obvious. The years the locust has eaten has caught up with us. Failed policies, or rather inconsistent policies and kleptocracy of our former leaders landed Nigeria into this present quagmire.
Yearly, the NBS realises GDP data and inflation figures which has no direct impact on the lives of the ordinary Nigerians. I remember when the Jonathan administration released a data on the rebasing of the Nigerian economy and people then in government were excited. To the average man on the street it was mere jargon, as the price of garri in the market was still the same.
According to the NBS report, our GDP has declined by -2.06 per cent, annual inflation has risen from 16.5 percent in June to 17.1 percent in July and food inflation has risen to 15.8 percent from 15.3. After the NBS released the reports on Wednesday, the Presidency immediately issued a counter statement highlighting the positives of the report.
The Presidency said the just released GDP figures for the 2016 second quarter by the National Bureau of Statistics, while confirming a temporary decline, has also indicated an hopeful expectation in the country’s economic trajectory.
Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu disclosed that besides the growth recorded in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors, the Nigerian economy in response to the policies of the Buhari presidency is also doing better than what the IMF had estimated, with clear indications that the second half of the year would be even much better.
Also, in a statement by spokesman to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, the Buhari presidency will continue to work diligently on the economy and engage with all stakeholders to ensure that beneficial policy initiatives are actively pursued and the dividends delivered to the Nigerian people.
On Wednesday, the Federal Executive Council meeting held at the Presidential Villa. Some of the meetings last just about an hour or two but this particular meeting extended beyond three hours to show the seriousness of the deliberations. Usually, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed alongside one or two ministers brief the press. After this particular FEC, the Information Minister came with his counterparts in the ministries of Finance, Kemi Adesoun; Education, Adamu Adamu; Agriculture, Audu Ogbe and Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi.
The ministers took turns to brief and didn’t mention the NBS Report, but state House Correspondents were not going to let the opportunity pass by. When a reporter asked the Finance Minister to react to the NBS report and feelers that the administration is clueless and confused on how to take the country out of recession, the question threw the finance Minister off balance.
A visibly embattled Adesoun, however, fired on. She said, “It is the worst possible time for us. Are we confused? Absolutely not. How are we going to get ourselves out of this recession. One, we must make sure that we diversify our economy. There are too many of us to keep on relying on oil. What’s happening in the Niger delta has dragged down the GDP of the entire economy. We’re too dependent on oil whereas 87 percent of our GDP is non oil. So let us drive those other areas
“We have to invest in capital projects. No, we are not confused; the times are confusing but we are not confused. We are extremely focused. We know that if we can just bare and get through this difficult period, Nigeria is going to be better for it. If we rely on oil and the price of oil remains low and the quantity of oil remains low, we can’t grow. We have to grow our non oil economy