Despite the Pandemic, Nigeria’s economy grew in first quarter 2020, the slowest rate in many years — NBS

Ayodeji Adegboyega

Amid global health and economic crises, Nigeria’s economic grew in the first quarter of 2020 by 1.87 per cent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday.

The rate of growth however was the slowest in more than a year, at a time of significant global disruption resulting from the COVID-19 public health crisis, a sharp fall in oil prices, and restricted international trade.

The growth rate declined to –0.23 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019 and –0.68 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

“In the quarter under review, aggregate GDP stood at N35,647,406.08 million in nominal terms. This performance was higher when compared to the first quarter of 2019 which recorded N31,824,349.67 million, with a nominal growth rate of 12.01% year on year. Relative to the first quarter of 2019, the nominal growth rate was higher by 0.11% points but lower than the proceeding quarter by –0.32% points,” the bureau said.

The oil sector recorded a real growth rate of 5.06 per cent (year-on-year) in Q1 2020, indicating an increase of 6.51 per cent relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.

The sector contributed 9.50 per cent to aggregate real GDP in Q1 2020, up from figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2019 and the preceding quarter, as the share of the non-oil economy declined.

During the first quarter of 2020, the NBS reported average daily oil production of 2.07 million barrels per day (mbpd), higher than the 1.99mbpd recorded in Q1 2019 by 0.08mbpd and the fourth quarter of 2019 by 0.06mbpd.

However, the non-oil sector grew by 1.55 per cent in real terms during the first quarter of 2020). This was slower by -0.93 per cent compared to the rate recorded during the same quarter of 2019, and –0.72 per cent slower than the fourth quarter of 2019.

The sector was reported to have contributed 90.50 per cent to the nation’s GDP in the first quarter of 2020, less than its share in the first quarter of 2019 which was 90.78 per cent and the fourth quarter of 2019 recorded as 92.68 per cent.

The non-oil sector was driven mainly by information and communication (telecommunications), financial and insurance (financial institutions), agriculture (crop production), mining and quarrying (crude petroleum & natural gas), and construction

Activities that witnessed weaker performance relative to Q1 2019 include quarrying, road transport, accommodation, and food services as well as real estate.

The International Monetary Fund had projected that Nigeria’s economy will hit its worse recession in 2020.

[P.T.]

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