The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has reported a 4% growth in the economy in the third quarter of 2021.
The growth according the statistics office on Thursday, was lifted by higher oil prices, as the country targets mass COVID-19 vaccination from this month.
Growth rose for the fourth consecutive quarter ending Sept. 30, after a COVID-19-induced recession.
However, third-quarter growth rate slowed compared with the previous quarter, according to the NBS.
“The prospect of full recovery is glaring provided we sustain the performance,” said Simon Harry, the head of the statistics office.
Nigeria had been grappling with low growth since before the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation.
It has relied on ad-hoc measures to maintain external liquidity, Fitch said on Monday, with recent dollar loans helping to boost reserves. A renewed downturn in oil prices and a reserves depletion would be negative for ratings, it said.
Rising prices for oil, Nigeria’s main export, have also helped. Production of oil, which accounts for around two-thirds of government revenue and 90 per cent of its foreign exchange reserves, contracted 10.73% in the third quarter as crude production dropped to 1.57 million barrels per day.
The World Bank has said Nigeria’s growth lags the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Its economy is estimated to grow up to 3% this year, with increased vaccinations against coronavirus.
Africa’s most-populous country has a goal to vaccinate more than half of its 200 million population to reach herd immunity. To date, only 2.9 per cent of those eligible to get vaccines have been inoculated, according to Reuters.
The NBS said the non-oil sector, which the government is trying to make the main growth sector, rose 5.44 per cent in the third quarter. Trade, telecoms, crop production, financial institutions and food production lifted growth in the quarter.
With growth recovering and inflation down for the seventh straight month in October, few expect Nigeria’s central bank to alter interest rates next week.