President Buhari’s new year message to Nigerians was delivered on the last day of 2016, a year many Nigerians will not hesitate to forget (in terms of the economy). His speech was mostly dividend into three parts, security, unity and the economy.
We focused on the economic aspects of his speech, comparing his tough talk against the realities. Here it is;
On our part, in the past 20 months since our inauguration on May 29, 2015, we have focused our energies to turn around the economy, create jobs, fight corruption, and transform agriculture to replace oil and gas as a major revenue earner for the nation. I am encouraged that we are getting things right.
Economy – Nigeria is technically in a recession with GDP contraction in the First, Second and Third Quarter of -0.36%, -2.06% and -2.24% respectively.
The agricultural revolution has begun. Farmers in different parts of the country are experiencing bumper harvests; states are getting into strategic partnership towards attaining self-sufficiency in rice, and the era of over-dependence on oil for foreign exchange revenues is gradually waning.
I am optimistic that the CHANGE we all yearned for in voting this administration to power in 2015 will manifest more and be sustained in different sectors, particularly agriculture, in 2017.
Agriculture contributed about 28% of GDP in the third quarter of 2016 up from 24.18% in the 4th quarter of 2015. GDP growth rate was 3.09%, 4.53% and 4.54% respectively.
As you may be aware, our economic recovery and growth plan in 2017 is anchored on optimizing the use of local content and empowering local businesses.
In pursuit of this administration’s philosophy, we will continue to appeal that we buy “Made In Nigeria” goods. Like I said during the 2017 Budget presentation to the National Assembly, farmers, small and medium-sized manufacturers, agro-allied businesses, dressmakers, entertainers and technology start-ups, will remain the true drivers of our economic future.
They are the engine of our economic recovery and their needs underpin our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
According to data from the National Bureua of Statistics Nigeria posted a trade deficit of about N823 billion as at the third quarter of 2016. Total imports was N6.5 trillion compared to exports of N5.5 trillion. Crude Oil made up about 81% of all exports in 2016 compared to 71% in 2015. Also, non-oil exports was about N975 billion by the third quarter of 2016 compared to about N2.3 trillion same period 2015.
On job creation, this administration will sustain existing programmes aimed at lifting a vast number of our youth out of poverty, while at the same time creating the opportunities for people to fend for themselves.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 13.9% by the third quarter of 2016 compared to 10.4% in the last quarter of 2015. Data also reveals about 80.6 million Nigerians are out of jobs as at the third quarter of 2016.