Headlines from mainstream Nigerian newspapers today, Wednesday, September 6 are focused on news that Nigeria's economy has officially exited recession amongst other top news.
The Guardian reports that until coming out of recession translates into meaningful improvement in people’s lives, our work cannot be said to be done.
With these words yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari declared that despite the claim by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the country has exited recession, the real impact would be better felt when ordinary Nigerians experience a change in their living conditions. Ordinary Nigerians cannot see an end to the recession as long as the prices of food items are still high.
Buhari, who spoke in his country home in Daura, Katsina State when he received the President of Niger, Alhaji Mahamadou Issoufou, told reporters that he was “very happy’’ to hear the country was finally out of recession. He commended all the managers of the economy for their hard work.
READ ALSO: List of top politicians under probe for corruption by EFCC
The presidency said it welcomed the news with cautious optimism even as it pledged to vigorously drive the economic recovery and growth plan of the administration.According to the presidency, the overall economic plan of the administration has resulted, among others, in the sustained restoration of oil production levels occasioned by the enhanced security and stability in the Niger Delta, growth in agriculture, mining and the first growth recorded in industry as a whole in the last nine quarters since Q4 2014.
Thisday reports that the federal government’s reaction Tuesday to the news of Nigeria’s emergence from the economic recession was subdued, as the government admitted that the country’s economic growth remained fragile and vulnerable, despite the cheering news from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the economy grew by 0.55 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, after five consecutive quarters of contraction.
The NBS Tuesday confirmed THISDAY’s exclusive report that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) had grown by 0.55 per cent in Q2 2017, from -0.91 per cent in Q1 2017 and -1.49 per cent in Q2 2016.
However, reacting to the Q2 GDP report from the NBS, the Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Yemi Dipeolu, cautioned that the economy remained vulnerable to “exogenous shocks or policy slippages”.
Dipeolu, who said the end of the recession was welcome, reasoned nonetheless that it was imperative to intensify the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) as well as diversification of the economy to achieve the desired results
“Overall, the end of the recession is welcome but economic growth remains fragile and vulnerable to exogenous shocks or policy slippages.
“Accordingly, it remains essential to intensify efforts going forward on the implementation of the ERGP to achieve desired outcomes including sustained inclusive growth, further diversification of the economy, the creation of jobs and improved business conditions,” he said.
Dipeolu, who said the GDP figures gave cause for “cautious optimism” in the face of falling inflation, pointed out that unemployment and food inflation have remained high as a result of the cost of transportation and what he described as seasonal factors.
“The GDP figures give grounds for cautious optimism, especially as inflation has continued to fall from 18.72 per cent in January 2017 to 16.05 per cent in July 2017.
“Foreign exchange reserves have similarly improved from a low of $24.53 in September 2016 to about $31 billion in August 2017.
“Unemployment, however, remains relatively high, but job creation is expected to improve as businesses and employers increasingly respond more positively to the significantly improving business environment and favorable economic outlook.
“Besides, as key sectoral reforms in both oil and non-oil sectors gain traction, the successful implementation of ERGP initiatives such as N-Power and the social housing scheme will boost job creation.
“Food inflation also bears watching, as it has remained quite high and volatile due mostly to high transport costs and seasonal factors such as the planting season.
“Investments in road and rail infrastructure increased supply and availability of fertilizer and improvements in the business environment should contribute to the easing of food prices,” he pointed out.
The economic adviser described the positive growth of the economy as the bye-product of output from both the oil and non-oil sectors, disclosing that the growth in the oil sector was predicated on its stability, compared to the crisis it experienced last year.
Punch on the other hand reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen; Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State; his predecessor and the current Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; and the immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, are among high-profile personalities currently under its investigation.
The names are contained in the list of high-profile cases involving over 100 politically-exposed persons and top-ranking public officers still being investigated by the EFCC as of August 2017, The PUNCH reliably learnt on Monday.
The list, sighted by one of our correspondents via an EFCC source on Monday, was recently sent by the anti-graft agency to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), based on request.
Sunday PUNCH had reported that the list, sent to the AGF’s office earlier in August, comprised over 100 high-profile cases including the cases of a Justice of the Supreme Court and a judge of the Federal High Court.
Sunday PUNCH has also reported that some former governors, one of whom currently serves as a minister in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, and others serving their terms in the Senate as well as other politically-exposed persons, including some former ministers, senators and some persons are being investigated for the $2.1bn arms purchase scam.
“The list was actually sent in August to the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and copied the AGF,” another EFCC source said on Tuesday.
The list, sighted earlier on Monday, listed 106 cases under investigation and several others pending in court but either stalled or moving slowly.
Vanguard also reported that President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that the real impact of the country exiting recession will be better felt when ordinary Nigerians experience a change in their living conditions.
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The President’s reaction came as the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI and other stakeholders yesterday said that the economy is still performing below its potential and tied to the oil sector, in spite of the second quarter Gross Domestic Growth, GDP, report which indicated that the country is out of economic recession.
Speaking on the country’s exit from recession, President Buhari, who received the President of Niger, Alhaji Mahamadou Issoufou, at his country home in Daura, Katsina State, expressed excitement on the cheering news that the country is out of recession, adding that the real gains should be improved conditions for Nigerians.
In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President, fielding questions from, newsmen said: “Certainly, I should be happy for what it is worth. I am looking forward to ensuring that ordinary Nigerian feels the impact.”
President Buhari commended all the managers of the economy for their hard work and commitment, stressing that more work needed to be done to improve the growth rate. He also said:
“Until coming out of recession translates into meaningful improvement in peoples’ lives, our work cannot be said to be done.”
The Nation reports that Nigeria is out of recession, it has been announced. But President Muhammadu Buhari and economists, who are as excited as many Nigerians, are cautious, saying we should not lower our guard.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report for Second Quarter 2017 released by the bureau in Abuja, said Nigeria’s GDP grew by 0.55 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the quarter, indicating the emergence of the economy from the recession into which it slipped in 2016.
The Bureau stated that the figure indicated that the economy was out of recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since first quarter 2016.
An economy is said to be in recession after contracting for two consecutive quarters.
The bureau, however, stated that the growth in the quarter was 2.04 per cent higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 (–1.49 per cent).
It is higher by 1.46 per cent points from the rate recorded in the preceding quarter (revised to –0.91 per cent from – 0.52 per cent).
Quarter on quarter, the bureau stated that real GDP growth was 3.23 per cent, adding that during the quarter, aggregate GDP stood at N26, 986,005.20 million, resulting in a Nominal GDP growth of 14.60 per cent.
The growth is higher relative to the growth recorded in the second quarter 2016 (3.01 per cent)
Watch Legit.ng TV video report of the president's supporters celebrating on the streets of Abuja the day he returned: