Nigeria has slipped out of recession with plenty of thanks to expansive growth in its ICT and agriculture sectors – two key industries, according to the latest figures by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), helping to shore up the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Africa’s largest economy as the coronavirus pandemic impacts heavily on global economy.
Bloomberg reports this morning notes: Africa’s Largest Economy Unexpectedly Exits Recession
Nigeria’s economy unexpectedly came out of a recession in the fourth quarter as growth in agriculture and telecommunications offset a sharp drop in oil production.
Gross domestic product grew 0.11% in the three months through December from a year earlier, compared with a decline of 3.6% in the third quarter, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said on its website on Thursday. The median estimate of five economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a quarterly decline of 1.86%. The economy contracted 1.92% for the full year, the most since at least 1991, according to International Monetary Fund data.
• Pantami excited as ICT is fastest growing sector
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has expressed great delight over the new figures by the NBS. He supervises a ministry guiding a sector that has witnessed much ascendency in GDP value in the last few years even as the economy contracts.
According to the NBS, “Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.11% (year-on-year) in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2020, representing the first positive quarterly growth in the last three quarters”
The ICT sector also maintained its rapid growth rate in the overall year 2020 assessment, growing at 12.90%, or over three times the Water Supply, Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation sector, which was the next fastest growing sector of 2020 with a growth rate of 3.81%. Again, the ICT sector was the only sector with a double digit growth rate. Furthermore, the telecommunications sector recorded a growth rate of 15.90% and this was its highest growth rate in the last 10 years. This performance is unprecedented.
“This indicates that we have strongly exited recession. In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 94.13% to the nation’s GDP in Q4 2020 as opposed to the 5.87% contributed to total real GDP by the oil sector,” said an elated Pantami in a statement released by the ministry this morning in Abuja.
“The minister is very delighted that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector recorded the highest growth rate of all the sectors of the Nigerian economy in both the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) and the entire year 2020. This was based on the Q4 2020 Report on Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) released yesterday, the 18th of February 2021, by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released.
It is noteworthy that the ICT sector grew by 14.70% in Q4 2020, making it the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy in the last quarter and the only sector to have grown by double digits. The ICT sector grew at a rate more than 4 times the Agriculture sector, which was the next fastest growing sector of Q4 2020, with a growth rate of 3.42%,” the statement added signed by Pantami’s Technical Assistant (Information Technology), Dr Femi Adeluyi.
“The giant strides recorded in the ICT sector are a direct result of the focused and committed effort of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. The strategic policy directions of the federal government include the National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan, amongst others.
“The GDP Report has shown that the ICT sector is a catalyst for the diversification and growth of our economy. The Honourable Minister calls on all sectors to take advantage of the Federal Government’s new focus on the digital economy to enable and improve their processes through the use of ICTs. He also congratulates all stakeholders of the ICT sector and calls on them to continue supporting the policies of the Federal Government. This would enhance the output of all the sectors of the economy and boost Nigeria’s GDP.”