Zainab Ahmed, foreign exchange rate

…As services sector records fastest growth since 2010

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

The Minister of Finance and Budget Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed,  on Monday unveiled the details of what propelled a strong economic showing resulting in the attainment of Gross Domestic Product of 5.01 by Nigeria in the second quarter of 2021.

The Minister, who presented the economic performance index at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, in company  his information counterpart, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clement Agba,  and the Statistician-General of the Federation, Mr. Simon Harry, described the second quarter GDP as the strongest growth in the economy since 2014.

 Ahmed said, “During the quarter, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 5.01 %( year-on-year) in real terms, resulting in the third consecutive quarter of growth since last year’s slowdown. This is the strongest real GDP growth the economy has recorded since Q4 2014.

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“The 2021 Q2 growth rate reflects much better economic performance compared to the same period last year, which recorded -6.10% growth rate. Furthermore, it was also better than the previous quarter (Q1) growth rate of 0.51%, on a year-on-year basis. Real GDP grew 2.70% in 2021 compared to-2.18% for the first half of 2020

Giving further breakdown of the actual sector performance during the period, the minister revealed that the services sector recorded a strong performance growing at 9.27% during the quarter representing the fastest growth in the services sector since 2010.

“Nevertheless, the non-oil sector was a major driver of growth during the quarter, recording a growth rate of nearly 7% which represents the fastest growth in the non oil sector since Q3 2014.Specific activities which recorded growth during the quarter include, trade, transportation, coal mining, metal ores, as well as Insurance, each of which recorded double digit growth. The report, however, also indicates that some activities such as Oil refining, crude petroleum and natural gas production as well as financial services recorded negative quarterly growth.

“Growth in Q2 2021 would have been much stronger had it not been for Agriculture recording slower growth at 1.30% due to several bottlenecks currently negatively affecting the sector and due to the Industrial sector contracting by -1.23% largely due to the over 12% contraction in Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production.

 “Overall, a total of 42 out of 46 economic activities expanded during the quarter compared to only 13 at the same time last year, while 37 activities performed better than they did last quarter (Q1).

“These figures indicate that business and commercial activities are fully returning to pre-pandemic levels as restrictions to movement, business activities, as well as domestic and international travel have been relaxed.

“When these estimates are considered along with declining inflation rate, which slowed from 18.17% at the end of Q1 to 17.75% at the end of Q2 and as at July, stands at 17.38%, it is clear that the economic recovery is gradually picking up steam.

“With favourable International economic conditions expected as economic activities and normalcy returns across major economies, and local conditions continue to improve to allow business activities, the Nigerian economy is expected to maintain a steady path to more inclusive growth.

The Finance Minister assured that while the GDP pointed to the fact that Nigeria was making progress in its economic growth and recovery, more and more measures were being put in place to give real value to Nigerians in terms of price reduction and availability of services.

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clement Agba, disclosed that in a bid to boost the economy, capital releases were being made as and when due.

 He pointed out that up to 75 percent of this year’s budget had been funded up to 75 percent and that more cash would be released to service ministries and department and agencies as the dry season sets in for more projects and programmes.

The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, explained that Nigeria would continue to explore ways and means of making the economy strong in order to add value to all Nigerians.

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