By Azzez Adeyemi, Abuja
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Nigeria has exited its worst economic recession in more than two decades, notching up growth of 0.55 per cent in the second quarter of 2017
In its report released on Tuesday, the data showed that the economic recovery was driven by improved performance of oil, agriculture, manufacturing and trade sectors of the economy.
It said that since the first quarter of 2016, the Nigerian economy had contracted for five consecutive quarters.
According to the report, the West African powerhouse slipped into recession for the first time in more than two decades in August 2016.
“In the second quarter of 2017, the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.55% (year-on-year) in real terms, indicating the emergence of the economy from recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since Q1 2016,” it said.
Nigeria, which depends on oil sector for 70 per cent of state revenues and 90 per cent of export earnings, has been battered by lower oil prices since mid-2014, which have slashed government revenues, weakened the currency and caused dollar shortages, frustrating business and households.
The nation’s economic woes were exacerbated by militant attacks on key oil infrastructure in the restive Niger delta, slashing output.
The crisis is heaping pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May 2015 on an anti-corruption platform.
His government is also grappling with separatist agitation in the country’s southeast, farmer-herders clashes in the central, Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast and kidnappings and militancy in the south.
Analysts said the outlook for more growth looks positive for Nigeria.
“You can see that there have been improved performances in non-oil sectors in the second quarter,” said Bismark Rewane of the Lagos-based Financial Derivatives Company.
“The prospects for more robust growth are bright. I hope the current economic diversification efforts which see efforts being given to agriculture and mining will be sustained,” he said.
He said the nation’s economy would also buoy if ongoing truce with Niger delta militants was intensified.
“If there are no attacks on oil facilities and production is increased and Nigeria earns more money, then the economy will stabilise.”
Nigeria’s oil output has ramped up to an average of two million barrels per day from a low of 1.3 million in 2016 following government peace talks with the oil rebels.