FACT CHECK: Is ICT the next oil money source?

CLAIM: Dr Isa Ibrahim- Minister of Communications and Digital Economy-  said the Information and Communication Technology sector contributes more to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product than the Oil and Gas sector.

VERDICT:

Findings show that the Oil and Gas sector contributes 8.82% to Nigeria’s GDP; as against the 13.85% provided by the ICT sector.  However, the premise of this comparison can be misleading. This is because GDP is not necessarily a measure of the country’s revenue. It is rather, an estimate of citizens financial productivity; and as such, the Oil and Gas sector actually generates more revenue than the ICT sector.

FULL TEXT:

Last week Friday, Dr Isa, claimed that the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector currently accounts for 13.85% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He also noted the percentage the Oil and Gas sector contributes – 8.82%.

The assertion was made amid the lecture he was delivering at Nile University Abuja. The occasion marked the 7th Convocation of the institution.

Verification

For verification, data on Nigeria’s GDP from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) was reviewed. The latest data (second quarter of 2019) corroborates the claim. The data further revealed that the Oil and Gas sector contributed 8.82% to the country’s GDP; while the ICT sector contributed 13.85% to the country’s GDP in the second quarter of the year 2019.

succinct point made by Africa Check is that the Minister utilized nominal GDP and not real. The difference being the former accounts for inflation; and the latter does not. Regardless, the outcome remained unchanged- ICT outperformed the Oil & Gas sector. But, did it?

Nigeria’s GDP composition by sector (2nd quarter of 2019)

SECTORNOMINAL GDPREAL GDP
ICT13.8514.57
OIL8.825.15

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GDP vs Total Revenue

According to World Bank, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Nigeria was worth 397.30 billion US dollars in 2018. The GDP value of Nigeria represents 0.64% of the world economy. GDP in Nigeria averaged 125.26 USD billion from 1960 until 2018; reaching an all-time high of 568.50 USD Billion in 2014 (over N95 trillion) and a record low of 4.20 USD Billion in 1960.

GDP is a measure of the total value of goods and services produced in a country and bought by final users in a period of time. It is interesting to note that GDP does not estimate the standard of living in a country; or quality of life of a person. Although, per-capita GDP is an estimate- albeit not accurate- used to ascertain whether a citizen “is better or worse off”. Hence, it is not an estimate of the country’s revenue, but rather a measure of citizens financial productivity.

More so, findings suggest that crude oil still accounts for over 70% of the government’s revenue; with over $509.02bn gotten till date. Moreover, the ICT sector is highly privatized. This is not the case with the predominantly government-owned Oil and Gas sector. This mere fact makes it an unbalanced comparison, as the revenue received from the former sector cannot be accurately collated. This is also why it seems to have a higher percentage to GDP.

Conclusion

It is obvious that the Minister was trying to explain the importance of ICT to the country’s economy. This is evidenced by his statement on the government’s plans to utilize the ICT industry for job creation and economic transformation; plans to create an enabling environment for over “30 million Nigerian youths”. However, taking pot shorts at the country’s Oil and Gas sector is not the way to go; no matter how many issues flaw it. Regardless, judging by the current figures, it is good to see where the ICT is going; and what it could mean for our economy.

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