Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has expressed satisfaction that the 2019 elections did not affect the nation’s economic stability, according to the just released National Bureau Statistics Economic Growth of 2.01 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, disclosed this at the end of the over six hours Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday.
According to figures released by the NBS, slow growth was recorded in the first quarter, after the oil sector contracted.
Compared with the first quarter of 2018, which recorded real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 1.89 percent, the first quarter 2019 growth rate represented an increase of 0.12 percent points.
Udoma said he briefed Council on the first quarter GDP performance numbers released by the NBS, which numbers indicated continuing economic growth in the first quarter of 2019, with a real GDP growth of 2.01 percent.
He said Council noted that despite the elections, there were improvements in other economic indicators, such as the inflation rate, which ed to have high inflation during an election period, but has been stable.
Said Udoma: “The Council was also pleased to note that there were improvements in other economic indicators, such as the inflation rate, which tend to have high inflation during an election period, but, it has been stable.
“Our external reserves and our trade balance has also remained healthy over the period which our exchange rate to the dollar has also been stable.
“So notwithstanding the elections, there has been stability. Council believed that the dividend arising from the peaceful elections and the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari will lead to a further boost in economic growth.
“The nation should, therefore, expect faster growth rate as the incoming cabinet continues to intensify work on the implementation of the economic recovery and growth plan.”
Udoma also added that Council noted that “this growth reflects the strongest first quarter performance in GDP since 2015.
“The first quarter is always the weakest in terms of growth. FEC was most encouraged by the fact that growth continues to be driven by the non-oil sector which affects most of our population. Also, agriculture grew by 3.17 percent and this represents the strongest growth in agriculture; since the fourth quarter in 2017.
“Council was pleased to note that, in the next level, the president is committed to further working on initiatives to, among other things, protect Nigeria from vulnerability to any external shocks, reverse the contraction in the oil sector and stimulate faster growth in agriculture and manufacturing.”