Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Amidst a second economic recession in five years, the Federal Government, Thursday, maintained that Nigeria is still buoyant and remains the biggest economy in Africa.
The government said that although COVID-19 has forced economies of developed countries into recession, the situation in Nigeria is not as bad as the case in most developed countries or the way people portray it.
Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who spoke at the fourth quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), in Abuja, urged Nigerians to be hopeful and renew their trust in the ability of the economy managers to pull the country out of recession as early as first quarter of 2021.
He said the government saw the signs of imminent recession few months ago, hence the decision to relax the COVID-19 lockdown as evidences abound that the economy could no longer sustain prolonged closure, while Nigerians on their part have returned to their normal way of life, amid concerns of possible second wave of the pandemic.
He said: “When the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released its third quarter report on the economy last week, it was a cause for jubilation for some of us because the second quarter report had indicated that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted by -6.26 per cent.
“But the third quarter report was a clear indication that, yes!, most countries of the world are in economic recession including the most developed nations some of whom have up to two digit figure GDP contraction. But ours, instead of further negative decline recorded positive decline in the sense that we moved from -6.2 per cent in second quarter to -3.7 per cent in third quarter indicating a different margin of over -2 per cent.
“Howbeit, it’s undisputable that we have a bouyant economy which is the biggest in Africa. It means that if we work together, we would exit recession as early as the first quarter of 2021. That’s the message we should spread to the world and not otherwise.”
He, thus reminded Nigerians of the need to adhere to non-pharmaceutical measures against COVID-19 pandemic, insisting that second wave is possible and could be more disastrous. “Don’t travel to high burden countries during the holiday season. Check the risk and take wise decision for your health,” the SGF advised.