‘Why Buhari deserves more accolades for 3.54% economic growth’

  • Govt unreasonably upbeat about reported growth rate, Atiku says

The President Muhammadu Buhari administration deserves more plaudits than it is getting for Nigeria’s 3.54% economic growth in the second quarter of 2022.

This, according to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), is because it came at a time that much of the world witnessed a general economic slowdown.

BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that this was traceable to the same policies that took Nigeria’s economy out of a COVID-19 induced global recession faster than expected.

“Many analysts have continued to express surprise that the Nigerian economy has been showing some resilience after it recorded a 7th consecutive quarter of GDP growth since the recession in Q3 of 2020 at a period of a sustained global slump.

“But for us, it is a reflection of the policies put in place by the Buhari administration even before COVID-19 struck that were targeted at weaning the country off its overdependence on crude oil.

“More than any other administration before it, the Buhari administration through the Central Bank of Nigeria has been deliberate in putting funds into the agricultural sector through various initiatives, including the Anchors Borrowers Programme which has supported nearly 5m farmers and boosted production of 23 food commodities in the country since its launch in 2015.

“And lest we forget, there is also the Information and Communication Technology ( ICT) sector which contributed 18.44% to the GDP as a result of the conducive environment for the digital economy to thrive through the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria.

“So while countries like the United States and Britain which are generally acknowledged as having more developed economies are witnessing a decline as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war, Nigeria’s non-oil sector has continued to drive Nigeria’s economic growth like it has done since Q4 of 2020 in defiance of analysts’ estimates.

“In specific terms, the 3.54% growth in Africa’s biggest economy in Q2 2022, compared to a GDP growth rate of 3.11% in the previous quarter, was driven mainly by Information and Communication ; Trade; Financial and Insurance; Road Transport; Agriculture and Manufacturing which jointly contributed 93.67 % to the GDP.

“And while we know that the country is not where it should be, especially as inflation and unemployment are still high, we are encouraged by good reviews by financial analysts who see the positive trajectory as good news for investors and creditors”, the statement said.

It added that President Buhari remains committed to leaving the country better than he met it on assuming office in 2015.

We need to bake a bigger cake and not bigger debts, Atiku says

But in his reaction to the GDP figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics for Q2 2022, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar said “The government has been unreasonably upbeat about the reported growth rate of 3.4%. The plain truth is that the economy is in deeper trouble than the APC-led government is willing to admit.

“The citizens’ level of misery hasn’t changed, and the reasons are obvious: first, the key sectors of the economy, notably agriculture, oil and gas (the country’s cash cow) and manufacturing (that contributes to jobs), are either growing slowly or declining.

“Second, unabated are rising commodity prices occasioned by high energy and transportation costs (and aggravated by the disorderliness in the forex market).

“Also, debt levels continue to rise while the fiscal capacity to service its debts is declining. All these are enough to erase the perceived gains from output growth.

“Having run out of ideas, it appears that our unprecedented level of indebtedness is whetting the government’s appetite for more debt. This is a recipe for macroeconomic instability.

“We challenge the National Bureau of Statistics to share with the public their recent statistics on poverty, unemployment and commodity prices — the reality of which will leave no hope for the common man.

“Like I have said before, increasing debts will never be a solution to our indebtedness. My government, if elected, will halt the rate of debt accumulation and instead focus on private-public partnerships in financing development.

“Also is the consideration of a government of national unity that will douse the temperature, unite Nigerians and pave the way for improved security. Improved security allows for investments and, therefore, an improved economy.

“Also targeted tax rebates to attract foreign and local investments, amongst other proactive measures to attract investments to grow the economy.”

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