Federal cabinet members on Wednesday said the current economic growth rate recently announced by the National Bureau of Statistics was still rather modest.
Briefing State House reporters after the cabinet meeting, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, said the government had to continue to work harder to achieve the goals of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of diversifying the economy and achieving the growth target of 3.5 percent this year and 7 percent by 2020.
He said one of the ways the government was intensifying the implementation of the ERGP was through the focus labs which President Muhammadu Buhari would launch next Tuesday.
He said’ "You will recall that the NBS indicated that in the last quarter of 2017, the economy had continued its positive growth trajectory by growing by 1.92%. This is higher than the previous quarter when it grew by 1.40% and higher still from the 2nd quarter, when it grew by 0.72%. The numbers clearly show that the economy has fully exited recession. Council members were particularly pleased to note that this growth is very broad based with agriculture growing at 4.23% up from 3.06% in the 3rd Quarter.
"Other sectors such as transportation and storage, electricity and gas production, eetal ores, and industry all grew. Particularly noteworthy were the growth recorded in trade (2.07% and services (o.10%) after six quarters of negative growth. Council members were also happy to note that overall, the non-oil sector grew by 1.45%, its strongest g since 2015. Inflation is also trending downwards moving down from 18.72% in January 2017 to 15.13% in January 2018.
"Council members were also happy to see the increasing private sector confidence in the ERGP, and other policies and programmes of the Buhari administration, as evidenced by the increasing capital inflows. Capital inflows in 2017 were $12,228 million, a growth of 138.6% over the total inflow in 2016 of US$5,124 million. This has been a factor in the build-up of our foreign reserves which have grown from 23.81 billion in September 2016 to almost $42 billion."