…As Oil growth declines to 2.40% .We’re happy with Q1 GDP growth, says FG
Joseph Inokotong and Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has recorded 2.01 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, even as the growth of the oil economy declined to -2.40 per cent, the latest figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has shown.
The NBS data, which was released in Abuja on Monday, indicated that the slow growth was recorded in the first quarter after the oil sector contracted.
The NBS explained that “compared to the first quarter of 2018, which recorded a real GDP growth rate of 1.89 per cent, the first quarter 2019 growth rate represented an increase of 0.12 per cent points.
“However, relative to the preceding quarter (fourth quarter of 2018), the real GDP growth rate declined by -0.38 per cent points.”
According to the NBS, the GDP growth in the oil sector was -2.40 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 indicating a decrease by -16.43 per cent points relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2018.
This shows -0.79 per cent point’s growth decreased when compared to Q4 2018 which was -1.62 per cent.
“In real terms, the Mining and Quarrying sector grew by -2.31 per cent (year-on-year) in the first quarter of 2019. Compared to the first and last quarters of 2018, this represented a decline of -16.41 per cent points and -1.07 per cent points respectively.
“Aggregate GDP stood at N31, 794,085.85 million in nominal terms. This aggregate was higher than in the first quarter of 2018 which recorded N28, 438,604.23 million, representing a year on year nominal growth rate of 11.80 per cent.
“The aggregate was, however, lower than in the preceding quarter of N35, 230,607.63 million, by -9.75 per cent”, said the NBS.
The NBS said the 2019 general election may have affected the economy’s performance, which it described as the strongest since 2015.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has expressed joy over the nation’s GDP growth rate at 2.01 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, driven mostly by the non-oil sector.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said that the figures reflect the strongest first quarter performance in GDP since 2015.
Udoma told State House correspondents at the end of a special Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that agriculture grew by 3.17% representing the strongest growth in agriculture since the fourth quarter of 2017.
He said despite emerging from the recent general election, other economic indicators remained stable, especially inflation rate.
According to the Minister, under normal circumstances there used to be high inflation during the election period, but ours was stable, including the external reserves, trade balance as well as exchange rate to the dollar.
“The first quarter GDP performance numbers released this (Monday) morning indicates continuous economic growth in the first quarter of 2019. The economy recorded a real GDP growth of 2.01 per cent.
“This growth reflects the strongest first quarter performance in GDP since 2015. The first quarter is always the weakest in terms of growth.
The Federal Executive Council is most encouraged by the fact that growth continues to be driven by the non-oil sector which affects most of our population.
“Also, agriculture grew by 3.17 per cent and this represents the strongest growth in agriculture since the fourth quarter in 2017.
“The Council is also pleased to note that there are improvements in other economic indicators such as the inflation rate, which tend to have high inflation during an election period, but it has been stable.
Our external reserves and our trade balance have also remained healthy over the period which our exchange rate to the dollar has also been stable.
“So notwithstanding the elections, there has been stability. The Council believes that the dividend arising from the peaceful elections and the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari will lead to a further boost in economic growth”, Udoma stated.