The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 2.38% in the fourth quarter of 2018. Overall the real annual GDP growth for 2018 was 1.93%, a 1%+ improvement from the 2017 GDP figures.
Why it matters
The latest GDP figures gives President Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration has consistently recorded dismal economic numbers, some form of relief as we arrive the home stretch of the presidential campaign.
The Presidency called the numbers a signal that the administation’s economic policy was working. Buhari has failed to match the performance of his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, under whose watch the real GDP growth at this period in his administration stood at 6.2% (2014).
In spite of the rhetoric surrounding the latest GDP figures, here are five dark spots to note:
- GDP growth is still not matching population growth which stands at 2.75% according to the IMF estimates.
- GDP does not even match the administration’s own forecast. If falls at least 2% short of the projected GDP growth of 4.6% contained in the FG’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) document.
- Unemployment which is directly responsible for low productivity stands at 23.1%. Without any significant measures to create jobs, meaningful GDP growth will remain a mirage.
- There has been a Year-on-Year decline in growth in the Agriculture and Industry sectors.
- The recent GDP growth is, of course, strongly linked to the rise in oil prices in 2018. In the Q4 surveyed, oil price reached a four year peak at about $74 per barrel. However, the recent decline in oil prices is a scary prospect for the country based on the slow growth.
One more thing: Some experts do not agree with the NBS GDP figures.