By Emma Ujah
The World Bank has said that Nigeria was at a critical juncture, given the crash in its economic fortunes, occasioned by the current global economic crisis from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his remarks during a panel discussion at the Nigeria Economic Summit in Abuja, on Monday, the World Bank’s Country Director in Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, said that the country faced great challenges.
He said: “Crisis like this is often what it takes to bring a nation together to have that consensus within the political, business, government, military, civil society to say, ‘We have to do something that departs from business as usual’.
“And for Nigeria, this is a critical juncture. With the contraction in GDP that could happen this year, Nigeria’s per capita income could be around what it was in 1980— four decades ago.”
Nigeria’s per capita income in 2019 was about $ 2, 230, while in 1980 it was about $874, with an annual growth rate of about 32.03 percent.
The Country Director said, however, that he was “hopeful that given what the government has done, that this crisis will also provide an opportunity for that national consensus.”
Mr. Chaudhuri noted that there had been some form of recovery in the economy, but that it had been quite slow to meet the pressing revenue needs of the nation.
Nigeria still depends largely on oil revenue, which has been negatively affected by the COVID-19, as low global economic activities has continued to keep prices down.
However, earlier at the summit where the World Bank’s representative spoke, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had said the country will exit the current recession by the first quarter of 2021.
“Nigeria is not alone in this, but I will say that Nigeria has outperformed all of these economies in terms of the record of a negative growth,” Ahmed said.