Despite IMF negative projection, FG says economy will grow

Contrary to the forecast by the International Monetary Fund that the Nigerian economy will contract further, the Federal Government has said that Nigeria’s economy will pick up in the 3rd quarter of the year with an estimated 3.3 to 3.5 percent growth by the end of 2016.

This was revealed on Thursday by the Minister National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, and the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun at different events in Abuja.

While both officials agreed that Nigeria was in economic recession they were hopeful that the recession will be short-lived.

Udoma, who spoke with journalist after the National Economic Meeting (NEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, restated the earlier position of the Minister of finance, saying that Nigeria will “finish the year in a positive territory.”

Udoma said, “We expect to be marginally positive by the end of this year. But by next year, we will now start to pick up, and we will have much more growth next year.”

The minister disclosed that the Federal Government was putting its attention on other sectors of the economy -solid minerals, manufacturing, agriculture. He noted that the present economic situation was an opportunity for Nigeria  “to finally move away from total dependence on the single commodity, crude oil.

“We believe that Nigerians have the capacity to turn this thing around. It is the private sector that is going to do it. Our role as a government is to provide the enabling environment. For that to happen, we are confident that that will happen.”

Speaking on the recession, Udoma said, “Recession is basically when you have two quarters of negative growth. We had a first quarter of negative growth, and we’re still waiting to get all the figures for the second quarter which has just ended in June. The National Bureau of Statistics will be giving us all the figures.

“But if as we suspect the second quarter is also negative, then of course, technically you could say that we’re in recession if those figures turn out to be so. But even if we are not, the situation in the economy right now is one that of course we are addressing.

“Some of it was expected, some of it was not. We did expect the low oil price, but we did not expect the level of disruption that we got in the Niger Delta such that oil production went down, and we’re not likely to achieve the 2.2 million barrel per day because it went down to 1.2 million barrel per day; a little over about 1.3 million barrel per day. It had also affected power supply because a lot of power was fired by gas.”

“We have paid all salaries, the Federal Government has always been paying its salaries, and there is no risk whatsoever that there is going to be a situation where the Federal Government will not pay salaries.”

Udoma said, “There is actually an increase in the amount that is going to be available in FAAC. I will let the Minister of Finance talk about the exact amount. There is an increase because of FIRS, our tax collection is going up.

“When I appeared before the Senate last week, I did inform Nigerians that indeed we are beginning to move up; our revenue situation is actually improving on the month already. Our tax collection is already improving; there is no doubt that we are actually going through a difficult time but things are improving.”

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