The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has disclosed that growth in Nigeria’s fragile economy slowed to 2.01 per cent in the first quarter as the country’s dominant oil sector shrank.
Oriental News Nigeria recalls that growth in the first quarter of 2018 was 1.89 per cent.
The annual pace dropped from the previous quarter’s 2.38 per cent when activity was likely to have been boosted by state spending in the run-up to February and March elections.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had earlier prognosticated growth of 3 per cent for 2019.
Nigeria, emerged from recession in 2017 and has been recovering in great part due to higher oil prices.
In a report published on its website, the bureau said when compared to the first quarter of 2018, which recorded a real GDP growth rate of 1.89 per cent, the first quarter of 2019 growth rate represented a decrease of 0.12 per cent.
The Real GDP growth in the oil sector shrank by -2.40 per cent (year-on-year) in Q1 2019 indicating a decrease by -16.43 percentage points relative to the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2018.
Crude production rose slightly to 1.96 million barrels per day from 1.91 million in the previous quarter, though lower than the average daily production of 1.98 million barrels per day recorded in the same quarter of 2018.
The non-oil sector grew by 2.47 per cent in real terms during the reference quarter. This was 1.72 percentage points higher compared to the rate recorded in the same quarter of 2018 but -0.23 percentage points lower than the fourth quarter of 2018.
“It is worth noting that general elections were held across the country during the first quarter of 2019 and this may have reflected in the strongest first quarter performance observed since 2015,” the report said.
Aggregate GDP stood at N31,794,085.85 million in nominal terms, which was higher than in the first quarter of 2018 which recorded N28,438,604.23 million, representing a year on year nominal growth rate of 11.80 per cent.
The aggregate was, however, lower than in the preceding quarter of N35,230,607.63 million, by -9.75 per cent. The nominal GDP growth rate in Q1 2019 was higher than the rate recorded in Q1 2018 by 2.54 percentage points.