PwC Nigeria’s Chief economist, Andrew Nevin has shared his opinion on the recent Nigerian GDP report figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Speaking to TVC Business News anchor via Skype, the foremost economist stated that he remains optimistic about the Nigerian economy following the positive GDP report released.
In his reaction to the latest GDP report, Nevin expressed optimism and called on Nigerian citizens to go easy on the government. He stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked other economies and has presented countries with very challenging times.
“Let’s put this in perspective, it is easy to be hard on ourselves and Nigeria, but around the world, this has been the greatest health and economic challenges in our lifetime.
“In the UK, the economy shrank in 2020 by almost 10%. The year 2019 to 2020 in Nigeria is about minus 1 percent. Then from the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020, it increased a little bit. These are the few signs of positive happenings in the Nigerian economy. So, I am not surprised,” Nevin said.
On the Information and Communication sector and also the Agriculture sector which were key sectors responsible for the positive GDP growth, Nevin said he was elated with the success of the ICT sector which he attributed to the fact that people were working from homes. He also believed the Agriculture sector could be a lot better than it is.
Nevin also highlighted the emerging growth away from Oil-dependency portrayed by the latest GDP report.
“I mean it’s very good news. There has been a lot of emphasis on ICT. It enables other sectors to do well. It is not a big surprise because people have been working remotely.
“In terms of Agriculture, we will like to see faster growth, but there has been so much emphasis on it paying dividends. When I talk to farmers or people in the agricultural space, they tell me the crops are doing very well. I mean it’s good news and it also shows us that the rotation away from oil is real,” he said.
On the 19.76% plunge of the oil sector, the PWC chief economist highlighted the fall in oil production in the fourth quarter of 2020. He brushed aside the heavy emphasis on Oil prices reminding the audience that Oil production is equally important while analyzing the Oil sector.
“People always tend to think about the oil price but probably as important or more important in the context is the production. The production in the fourth quarter of 2020 was only 1.6m barrels a day. It is a big contraction there. So, the fact that we can grow the Nigerian economy in these very challenging health and economic times shows you the resilience of the Nigerian economy. It shows why people like me are optimistic in the medium term about the Nigerian economy,” he said.
The Recent GDP report confirms that Nigeria has exited the pandemic-induced recession. Andrew Nevin was quizzed on how the Nigerian Government can sustain the positive growth reflected by the latest GDP report.
In response, he highlighted the encouraging partnership between the private and the public sector depicted in the recent Lagos economic summit as one of the key ways to maintain positive growth in the Nigerian economy.