The Nigerian government has expressed satisfaction with an improvement witnessed in the nation’s economy in the last four quarters.
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, revealed this on Wednesday while briefing State House Correspondents.
She said: “Today, we presented to the council for information and discussion the third quarter GDP report for 2021 which was released on Thursday last week by the National Bureau of Statistics.
“The result shows an improvement from the contraction that we witnessed in 2020. Recall that we had negative growth in Q2 and Q3 2020. We entered into a recession technically and then exited recession by the fourth quarter of 2020.
“So, this report shows that we now have four consistent quarters of growth from Q4 2020 to Q3 2021. The GDP third quarter report shows a growth of 4.03% in the third quarter 2021 compared to a contraction of minus 3.62% in the third quarter of last year.”
The Minister attributed the recent improvement to successes recorded in the services and agricultural sectors.
“So, part of the economic activities that were the major drivers of growth within this reporting period is services which grew by 8.41%. Growth in the service sector was largely driven by better performance in the rail transport sector, pipeline sector, air transport, financial institutions, road transport sector, water transport as well as crude.
“Agriculture also grew by 1.22%. This is a slight dip compared to the 1.3% in the second quarter of 2021. And the reason for the dip has to do with a slight slowdown in agricultural activities in some parts of the country due to security. The growth in agriculture that is reported in this quarter is largely driven by crop production,” she said.
The Finance Minister also said steps taken by the government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the strict implementation of its fiscal policies helped in improving the economy.
“So, factors that are responsible for this growth include the commitment of the government to continued containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the implementation of fiscal and monetary measures to support businesses contained in the Economic Sustainability Plan.
“It includes the improvement that we’ve witnessed in the rail transport sector, pipelines, air transport, road transport, as well as water transport. It includes improvement in the transportation and the free movements of people as well as goods as the containment measures have been really improved,” Ahmed stated.
Ahmed noted that the government’s diversification plan has been very successful, proving that the country cannot continue to depend on oil alone.
“The growth in industry has been consistent, but we have seen a slight slowdown compared to the last quarter of 2021 and the contraction of the industry is driven by the poor performance of the crude oil and natural gas sectors, coal mining, quarrying, minerals as well as oil refinery.
“The Q3 GDP report indicates that the oil sector’s contribution to the GDP today stands at 7.49 percent while the non-oil sector’s contribution to the GDP stands at 2.51 percent. This indicates that the Nigerian economy is truly much diversified with the oil sector contributing just 7.49 percent,” she added.