By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
In spite of several challenges caused by low oil prices and the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s economy is finally out of the woods and has exited recession as Gross Domestic Product rose by 0.51 per cent in the first quarter of 2021.
This is contained in a report by the National Bureau of Statistics on Sunday in its GDP report for the first quarter 2021.
The NBS said, “The Q1 2021 growth rate was slower than the 1.87 per cent growth rate recorded in Q1 2020 but higher than 0.11 per cent recorded in Q4 2020.”
The Nigerian economy had grown 0.11 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020, from the 6.11 percent contraction in the third quarter.
The continent’s largest economy fell into a recession after the Covid-19 pandemic hit its major sources of revenues.
The country’s major source of export revenue which is crude oil sales crashed during the period to a record low.
Recalled that nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.11 percent in the last quarter of 2020 with non-oil sectors identified as large contributors.
Reacting to the development, foremost economic expert, Prof Uche Uwaleke said the Q1 2021 GDP report reflects an economy already on the path of gradual economic recovery with a positive real GDP growth rate following that recorded in the previous quarter.
He said in a statement on Sunday that although still weak at 0.51%, it is interesting to note that the manufacturing sector is now out of the negative territory increasing from -1.51% to 3.40%.
According to him what is “equally noteworthy is the moderation in the negative performance in sectors like Trade, Accommodation and Education”.
“The increase recorded in the Health sector from 3.05% in Q4 of 2020 to 4.65% clearly shows that the country is winning the war against the COVID’19 pandemic.
“It is clear that the improved performance in the oil sector relative to the previous quarter was largely on account of improvement in average crude oil production.
“But the report also reveals disturbing pattern in the real GDP growth rate. Declines were recorded in critical sectors of the economy such as Agriculture, ICT, Real Estate and Transportation. This may not be unconnected with the rising insecurity in the country.
“That the non oil sector dropped should be of concern to both the fiscal and monetary authorities”, Uwaleke added.