• Nothing to celebrate, says PDP •Put food on Nigerians’ table –PFN

Nigerians have continued to query the excitement that followed Tuesday’s news of the nation’s exit from its economic recession, as reports from across the six geo-political zones indicate that prices of most food items remained outrageously out of reach of average Nigerians.
But Statistician General of Nigeria and Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale, while addressing the press in Abuja yesterday explained why prices of food are still high, despite Nigeria’s exit from recession.
Kale also gave reasons why Nigerians may not feel the immediate effects of the recession exit.
He equally warned Nigeria against relaxing with the recession exit, since the gross domestic products (GDP) is still in the negative side, stressing that coming out of recession was not about quality but the quantum of growth.
“There is growth but there is a problem with the distribution across the country,” he said.
In response to a question that the exit from recession was a political gimmick, the NBS boss, said GDP report which showed that Nigeria exited recession in the second quarter was not politically motivated.
“It is not political because it is the same bureau that gave other negative data,” he said.
“Things have improved but we are not there yet, it is only food prices that are still high.’’
According to him, the bureau is an agency of government that has the independence to carry out survey and publish its findings based on international best practices.
“The fact that the NBS can boldly say, when the Statistician-General is up for renewal, that the economy is in recession and inflation has gone up to 17 per cent, speaks a lot about the integrity of the bureau,” he said.
“So, in terms of bureau doctoring numbers for politicians, I don’t think anyone can make that claim and NBS can never be political. We don’t do it.
“There is a different stage Nigeria must go through before the masses will feel the effects of going out of recession,” he said.
“Out of recession is the first step which is very important. Then the country can talk of economic recovery which is going back to where Nigeria was before the recession.
“Recession is just a technical word; we are comparing 2017 and 2016.”
Kale said the reason Nigerians were not feeling the real impact of the positive economic growth rate on their lives is because the economy is still largely driven by oil.
“Recession is not about the price of your goods, not whether unemployment is going up or down, not whether you have quality education; it’s purely your gross domestic product,” he said.
“Your outputs of goods and services in the economy are going down and the gross domestic products (GDP) is an accumulation of 46 different economic activities in Nigeria and the overall number.
“Whether positive or negative will determine whether you are in recession or out of recession. Now, within those 46 activities, some sectors will do very well and will be positive, some will do badly, some will do worse and some will stay the same way they are.”
Kale said the important thing for the country is to maintain the situation so that Nigeria would not go back to recession.
On Tuesday, the NBS announced that Nigeria was out of economic recession.
It said the nation’s GDP grew by 0.55 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the quarter, indicating the emergence of the economy from recession.
The bureau said the figure indicated the economy was out of recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since the first quarter of 2016.
An economy is said to be in recession after contracting for two consecutive quarters.
The economy slipped into recession in the second quarter of 2016.
Commenting on his Twitter handle, Nigeria’s former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said: “The news is surely a boost for Nigeria – it tells investors, local and foreign, that our economy is worth investing in.
“While we rejoice, it’s also important to recognize that economic weakness at the bottom of the pyramid remains. Inflation is still high.
“We must continue working hard to expand economic opportunity for all Nigerians. When all Nigerians can eat three square meals, that’s when the real recession ends. We have work to do,” he said.
But in his reaction, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara,  expressed happiness over the report.
In a  statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, the Speaker said “the House  is gladdened  by the goodness of  the performance of the economy in the last quarter.”
He added that, “this positive result is an indication that the economic policies of the APC administration are on track and the task ahead is sustained efforts by both the Executive and the Legislature in fast tracking programme implementation for even more rapid economic growth and development.
“We must now channel our energies towards  measured aimed at job creation for the millions of our people, address the widening socio-economic inequalities and creating opportunities for all Nigerians.
“The House of Representatives will more than ever before step up it’s partnership with the Executive in this regard by introducing as well as supporting all measures designed to blossom the economy and put food on the tables of all Nigerians.
 “This informed the passage of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission bill which should go a long way in attracting foreign direct investment, create job opportunities for our people and provide healthy and conducive business environment for the private sector to thrive.
“We will implore the President to assent to this revolutionary  bill as soon as it is concurred by the Senate and transmitted to him.”
But, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not thrilled about the recession exit.
The party said there is nothing to celebrate about the nation’s economy yet that the Nigerian economy is still in very bad shape.
PDP National Chairman,  Senator Ahmed Makarfi, in an interview with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, said the country cannot be said to be out of recession until the condition of living of Nigerians improves.
Makarfi debunked claims by the present administration that his party was responsible for the economic recession, pointing out that “The economy nosedived into recession because of the policies that the APC administration came with, which frightened foreign investors, leading to capital flight.
“ Getting out of recession can be because of one or two indices which may not even have direct bearing on ordinary citizens. But, when you look at the figure, collectively and holistically, it will indicate that you are out of a problem when you are not really out of a problem…
“We have nothing to clap for. We have a lot to do. That is what PDP intends to correct when we come to power. But be that as it may, what we can do, even at the moment is to partner with those in power to make sure that the conditions of every Nigerian, especially the ordinary people is better . We won’t politicise over that,” Makarfi stated.
Although the National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Dr Felix Omobude, described as cheery news, Nigeria’s recession exit, he however, stressed that it would only make economic sense  if it improves the lot of the masses. He said Nigerians are not interested in figures but having food on their tables, switching  on electricity, having lights in their homes  and the youths getting employed after spending time and resources in schools.
Addressing newsmen, to mark his two-day pastoral visit to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday, the PFN president also said restructuring Nigeria  should bring about true federalism  where the rights of every individual are respected and where everyone has rights over  the resources domiciled where they live.
Explaining why prices of commodities are still inflated amidst the marginal GDP recovery, President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN), Mr Frank Jacobs, blamed Naira devaluation that followed the recession as a major culprit.
According to him, the naira was exchanging at about N199 to N200 per dollar, but this crashed to over N520 per dollar during the recession due to acute shortage of foreign currencies and declining government revenue


Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Blog Archive