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Despite GDP growth, Nigerians getting poorer – Experts

Despite Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rising above 3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023, experts have stated that the rising price of…

Despite Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rising above 3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023, experts have stated that the rising price of goods and commodities is pushing more Nigerians into poverty.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed that the economy grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter of 2023 having slowed to 2.54% in the third quarter.

The NBS, in its latest report, stated that the Q4 GDP pushed the average 2023 GDP to 2.74% In 2023.

Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew averagely by 2.74% which was lower than the 3.10% the economy recorded in 2022.

The report showed that the performance of the GDP in the fourth quarter of 2023 was driven mainly by the services sector, which recorded a growth of 3.98% and contributed 56.55% to the aggregate GDP; while the agriculture sector grew by 2.10%, from the growth of 2.05% recorded in the fourth quarter of 2022.

“In the quarter under review, aggregate GDP stood at N65.9trn in nominal terms. This performance is higher when compared to the fourth quarter of 2022 which recorded aggregate GDP of N56.7trn, indicating a year-on-year nominal growth of 16.12%.”

Oil production surges to 2-year high

The report indicated that oil production rose to an average of 1.55m barrels per day (mbpd) in the fourth quarter of 2023, highest since the third of 2021.

It said the daily oil production of 1.55 million was higher than the daily average production of 1.34mbpd recorded in the same quarter of 2022 by 0.21mbpd and higher than the third quarter of 2023 production volume of 1.45 mbpd by 0.10mbpd.

On the other hand, the non-oil sector grew by 3.07%, which is lower by 1.37% points compared to the rate recorded in the same quarter of 2022 and 0.32% points higher than the third quarter of 2023.

It went on to say the agriculture sector grew by 14.94% year-on-year in nominal terms in Q4 2023, showing a decrease of 3.74% points from the same quarter of 2022.

Nigeria moving towards strata of poor country – Expert

Commenting on the GDP report, a financial expert and senior partner at SPM Professionals, Paul Alaje, noted that the Nigerian economy is far worse today when compared to 2021 or 2019.

Alaje pointed out that the situation had worsened and that the country could no longer be labelled  a middle-income country but a poor country “because when you divide the real GDP by the exchange rate, it will give you less than $200bn. Where were we as of 2022? We were close to $500bn, which means more than half of the economy of Nigeria has disappeared into devaluation policies.”

He noted that despite the last seven months seeing income remain the same or increased, the rate at which commodity prices had increased was far more than the income that people were earning.

“What it means is that the purchasing power has significantly battered, and when the purchasing power is battered in a country that is poor, with high level of insecurity, high inflation and poor exchange rate, people will become poor, deprived and hungry.”

He said already, the economy was weak in 2022, thus, the comparison of 2023 with 2022 showed the economy further tanked.

A fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants of England and Wales, Alhaji Kabiru Ahmad, said while the economy improved, the agricultural sector did not do more owing to insecurity.

He said: “There should be a kind of producer price that will be a benchmark for trade in the agricultural commodity which is absent currently. You go to the market and the price is based on what the market brings. Before, at the end of any farming season, there will be an announcement on how much each commodity will be sold so that the farmer will know what he will get in the market.”

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