Nigeria will soon recover from recession—World Bank

THE World Bank Group says Nigeria will soon recover from economic recession. Mrs Eme Essien-Lore, Country Manager in Nigeria, International Finance Corporation, a member of the group, made the observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday. “In our perspective and with the numbers that we have seen coming from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Nigeria’s economy has recorded about one per cent real growth.

“That is a bit lower than government’s expectation which is about 2.2 per cent growth for 2017. “It is a bit modest, but we certainly expect that the economy of Nigeria will rebound and recover from last year’s recession,” she said.

Essien-Lore commended Federal Government’s new economic plan, but said that there was need to set priorities for implementation of the plan by the year 2020. According to her, the plan is very comprehensive, ambitious and thoughtful.

She said the World Bank had been consulting with the Nigerian Government on the plan, saying that the bank was happy that the plan had been published.

“Now we can sit down and look at it to see how we will align our objectives around what the government wants to do.

Essien-Lore said that the plan was an opportunity to look at the priorities and what the World Bank could do for the Nigerian government as ‘it comes up with its development agenda’.

“The plan is for 2017 to 2020, it is a relatively short period, but we need to know what the priorities are and collectively work with government on how to achieve them, ” she said.

On the high rate of unemployment in the country, Essien-Lore urged the Nigerian government to partner with the private sector to create more quality jobs to reduce poverty and prevent social unrest.

She said that Nigeria was growing very fast and would soon become the third largest country globally, after India and China.

This, she said, would increase unemployment rate if adequate job were not provided for the expected huge population.

“A World Bank reports stated that between 2010 and 2030, there will be a need for 40 million additional jobs.

“This will mean that 40 million Nigerians will need to enter the workforce within that period to boost the nation’s economy.

“The government needs to consider this by creating more jobs, especially for youths. Nigeria has the financial and entrepreneurial resources to create those jobs,” she stressed.

In related development, a university lecturer and a herd of Economic experts have said that the drop in inflation figure from 18.72 in January to 17.78 per cent in February was a signal that the country’s economy would overcome recession soon.

Dr Uche Uwaleke, head of department of banking and finance, Nasarawa State University said the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has initiated several policies that will ensure that the economy recovers quicker than expected.

“These policy measures are expected to increase the level of credit to the real sector and increase domestic producton leading to job creation,” Uwaleke stated in an intetview.

Other experts said on Wednesday that the 0.94 per cent inflation decline was an indication that recession could end before the end of the second quarter of 2017.

According to Uwaleke, increased accretion to foreign reserves through non-oil exports as well as increased contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the real sector are positive signs.

He said the CBN should continue to ensure that inflation remains within manageable limits and pay more attention to Agriculture in its intervention programmes since this sector remains the largest employer of labour in Nigeria and given the fact that a significant percentage of the current demand for foreign exchange (Forex) go directly to importing agricultural produce, leading to imported inflation.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) February Consumer Price Index (CPI) indicated that inflation rate dropped to 17.78 per cent for the first time in 15 months. Mr Lawrence Ode, a development economist while reacting to the decline in a separate intetview stated that the reduction signified the commencement of a drop in the rising cost of goods and services in the country. Ode said that the current inflation figure would ultimately have a positive effect on the purchasing ability of Nigerians and was capable of growing the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Damian Nnanyetugo an economist also stated that the current decline in inflation figure would impact positively on lending rate by deposit money banks and cause interest rates on loans and advances to reduce. He said it would also stimulate the confidence of foreign investors to consolidate their investments in the country.

He attributed the drop in inflation rate to a major slump in the core inflation sub-index at the rate of 16 per cent on all items, except food, in the month under review. Ode said it was very necessary for government to further inject additional funds to boost economic activities.