By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The federal government will announce the country’s new Gross Domestic Products, GDP, figure on Sunday.
The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
According to him, there hasn’t been a GDP computation in the country in the last 15 years.
There would likely be a more positive GDP data as one of the strongest sectors in the nation’s growth records, telecommunications and the Nollywood have not been properly reflected in the current 15-year old data. Nigeria’s GDP is currently estimated at about $ 305 billion.
His words, “we received today (yesterday) briefing by the Coordinating Minister of Economy (CME) and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that after nearly 15 years, that Nigeria is now ready to rebase its GDP after more than one year of hard work by the Ministries of Finance and National Planning; the Chief Statistician to the Federation and the international agencies like International Monetary Fund (IMF), Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); African Development Bank (AfDB),International Development Bank (IDB).
“You will recall that the last time that Nigeria issued new statistics and GDP figures was 15 years. And this is not supposed to be as we are supposed to be doing this every five years. Every country calibrates its own GDP data to show the progress made or challenges in their economy
“Right now the FEC was briefed today that on Sunday at the Transcorps by 2 pm, Nigeria will formally release its GDP figures for the country which has just been worked by the relevant government institutions in collaboration with international agencies, whose duties it is to work out GDP figures for
“So we hope that this new GDP figure will be released and the importance of this is that for the first time in 15 years, we will know scientifically what the new GDP figures are, the contributions of every sectors to the economy, we will be able to know the sectors that recorded the most progress and which ones are lagging behind.
“We will also know a few economic sectors that have emerged in the last for 10 years which have not been captured properly in the last GDP figures. For example, the telecoms which emerged in the year 2000. We can know scientifically the telecom sector has made on the Nigerian economy and GDP growth.
“Secondly,the Nollywood industry is another huge sector that has blossomed particularly in the last 10 years making significant contributions to job creation, but we have not been able to, because we have not been able to know since we have not rebased the GDP to really know scientifically how much impact it has made on the economy.
“The importance of rebasing the GDP is to ensure that after every five years every nation wants to know how much progress the GDP. What are the sectors contributions what are the challenges are facing, which sectors are moving forward, which ones are lagging behind. Without appropriate understanding of the GDP and the details of and how sectors are performing, it will affect policy.
“When the figures hopefully are released on Sunday we will then be able to analyse sector by sector and that will improve our budgetary planning, that will improve national planning, which sectors needed added attention. Even the ones that are doing well, what do we do to keep them growing. The importance of this cannot be over emphasized. It will assure investors in some areas and in some others it will pose challenges.”
Meanwhile, the federal government assured, yesterday that there was no Ebola Fever outbreak in any part of the country.
Maku, told the journalists that reports of the outbreak of the deadly disease was false.
According to him, officials of the Federal Ministry of health conducted tests in the reported areas but did not find any trace of Ebola.
“The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan, who briefed Council members on verification checks that have been carried out by the ministry since the alleged report of the outbreak of the disease was reported in the country”, he said.
He assured, however, “Nigeria is prepared right now to curtail any outbreak particularly given reports that few counties on the West Coast like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have reported cases of Ebola fever and given our proximity to these countries Nigeria is ready, the ministry has every precaution including getting with vaccines and medicines to ensure that should there be any incidence in Nigeria, everything would be dealt with precision.
“But so far, there is nothing like Ebola fever in Nigeria and council was reassured that every step has been taken to ready our country just in case, infected persons come into the country from our neighboring countries which unfortunately have been reportedly affected.
So citizens are reassured again that there is no Ebola fever in the country and and all the checks so far under taken declared clearly that we don’t have it, yes there are two in two or three west African countries the ministry has assured that should there be anything like that within our boundary it will be quickly tackled.”