We expect better economic outlook for second half of 2016 —Presidency

The Presidency, on Wednesday, said the just-released Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for the  second quarter of 2016 by the National Bureau of Statistics, while confirming a temporary decline, had also indicated an hopeful expectation in the country’s economic trajectory.

It said besides the growth recorded in the agriculture and solid mineral sectors, the Nigerian economy,  in response to the policies of the Muhammadu Buhari presidency, was also doing better than what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had estimated, with clear indications that the second half of the year would be even much better.

It said the Buhari-led presidency would continue to work diligently on the economy and engage with all stakeholders to ensure that beneficial policy initiatives were actively pursued and the dividends delivered to the Nigerian people.

According to the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu, the outlook for the country was bright.

Dipeolu said:  “The recently-released data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that Gross Domestic Product declined by 2.06 per cent  in the second quarter of 2016 on a year-on-year basis.

“A close look at the data shows that this outcome was mostly due to a sharp contraction in the oil sector due to huge losses of crude oil production as a result of vandalisation and sabotage.

“However, the rest of the Q2 data is beginning to tell a different story.  There was growth in the agricultural and solid minerals sectors, which are the areas in which the Federal Government has placed particular priority.

“Agriculture grew by 4.53 per cent in the second quarter of 2016 as compared with 3.09 per cent in the first quarter.  The metal ores sector showed similar performance with coal mining, quarrying and other minerals also showing positive growth of over 2.5 per cent.  Notably also, the share of investments in GDP increased to its highest levels since 2010, growing to about 17 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.

“The manufacturing sector, though not yet truly out of the woods, is beginning to show signs of recovery while the service sector similarly bears watching.

“Nevertheless, the data already shows a reduction in imports and an increase in locally-produced goods and services and this process will be maintained although it will start off slowly in these initial stages before picking up later.

“The inflation rate remains high, but the good news is that the month-on-month rate of increase has fallen continuously over the past three months.

“Unemployment remains stubbornly high which is usually the case during growth slowdowns and for reasons of a structural nature.

“The picture that emerges, barring unforeseen shocks, is that the areas given priority by the Federal Government are beginning to respond with understandable time lags to policy initiatives.  Indeed, as the emphasis on capital expenditure begins to yield results and the investment/GDP numbers increase, the growth rate of the Nigerian economy is likely to improve further.

“As these trends continue, the outlook for the rest of the year is that the Nigerian economy will beat the IMF prediction of -1.8 per cent for the full year 2016.

“The IMF had forecasted a growth of -1.8 per cent  for 2016, however the economy is performing better than the IMF’s estimates so far. For the half year, it stands at -1.23 per cent compared to an average of -1.80 per cent expected on the average by the IMF.