The Nigerian government has expressed satisfaction with the performance of the economy, which it says will soon move out of recession.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, made this known to journalists while briefing them after Wednesday’s meeting of the Federal Executive Council, presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
He said government was encouraged by the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics for the first quarter of 2017.
The Budget Minister said the first quarter performance for the country’s gross Domestic Product was very encouraging, as it showed that the country was moving out of recession. He highlighted areas where a lot has been achieved.
“We found the 1st quarter GDP performance encouraging even though we are still in recession during the quarter. It is the best result we’ve had for the last three or four quarters and it is a sign that we are moving out of recession. In particular we are encouraged by the manufacturing sector, which is growing at 1.36 percent, agriculture growing at 3.39 percent and mining, quarrying, other metals, we are growing in those areas,” he said.
He however said a lot needs to be done in order to achieve the desired result at the end of the day.
“We are determined to continue the implementation of our Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. We believe that the interventions that we are making and all the steps we are taking are in the right direction,” the Minister stated.
On his part, Interior Minister, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Danbazau (Retired) said government is worried by the state of prisons across the country and the condition of their inhabitants.
Danbazau informed newsmen that government was thinking of how to decongest the prisons.
“The major issue is that of the awaiting trial inmates that constitute the bulk of our prison inmates in Nigeria. Quite a number of them have been in prison for between five and ten years awaiting trial so we want to look at how we can decongest our prisons through either prerogative of mercy, State pardon or those condemned. We may convert such to life imprisonment and those who have been there as lifers, we may allow them have some relief after staying in prison for more than 10 years,” Danbazau explained.
He said the federal government has also decided to collaborate with state governments to address the problem, as most of the crimes were committed against the various state governments, adding that renovation work will also be done to make the prisons more habitable.
Before the commencement of Wednesday’s meeting, the Council observed a minute’s silence in honour of the State House Correspondent of Channels Television, Late Chukwuma Onuekwusi, who died on Tuesday, May 23.