Reactions mainly from financial experts have continued to trail re-emergence of Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa, as contained in the recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report.
In his reaction, the Director General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Lawal, opined that the figure is debatable, noting that the contraction in the economy early this year was under 3.6 per cent.
“The contraction was not up to one per cent. There is no way the size of our economy would have crashed by that size.
Granted that we have challenges in our economy, that does not mean, we would have crashed to that level.
“However, looking at the fact that naira has depreciated more than 70 per cent, one can say the report could be right. But in real sense of our economy, it couldn’t have been this bad.”
The Executive Secretary Nigeria Society of Engineers, Mr Sola Obadimu, said for Nigeria to regain its position, it would need to diversify the economy, look at the basic fundamentals as well as give serious thought to developing the social and physical structure in the country.
According to him, “the issue of biggest economy shouldn’t be but what has happened to our unemployment level and our standard of living.
“Countries like Norway, Netherland and Switzerland are not the biggest in Europe but their standard of living rank among the biggest in the world.
He wondered what the rebating has added to the country, saying, “what is really the main significance to us other than ego as the biggest on the continent? We need to look at World Bank variables again.”
Earlier in his reaction, a former Director of Budgetary Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Titus Okunronmu, said rating of Nigeria by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is because the country listens to instructions.
Okunronmu while reacting to the rating on Thursday told newsmen that the IMF ranked Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa because the nation was always listening to international instructions.
“Nigeria is not really in crises if the Federal Government can open its eyes and do the right thing by looking inwardly in solving our problem,” he said.
Okunronmu said that if the nation’s refineries were working to optimal capacity, the country would be able to export it’s products to African countries that would generate foreign exchange for the country as well as providing employment opportunity for the youths.
A professor of Economics from the University of Lagos, Mrs Risikat Dauda told Nigerian Tribune that she is doubtful of the IMF’s ranking because it is more comfortable to believe data from the National Bureau of Statistics and the CBN than any other foreign agency.
According to Dauda the strength of the economy of any nation is not determined by the Naira and Kobo, but impacts of what was happening at grassroots or micro level, adding that most of the population were found at this level of the economy.
“It is inclusive growth that impacts the life of every body including the low income earners.
“Until there is an improvement in the economic life of those found at the micro level, there will be violence, armed robbery and evil acts which of course is on the increase in Nigeria today,” she stated.
On Monday18, October, 2016, the newly released IMF’s estimates showed that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product would hit $415.08billion at the end of this year, from $493.831billion, its value at the end of 2015.
It, however, predicted that South Africa’s GDP would hit $280.367billion for this year, down from $314.732bn it actually recorded a year ago.