ABUJA, April 30, 2018 — While Nigeria emerged from a recession in 2017, the country’s continued economic recovery will be slow, according to a new economic analysis.
The recently released Nigeria Biannual Economic Update: Connecting to Compete, says economic gains were largely driven by an expansion in oil output and continued steady growth in agriculture. However, the report notes, labor-intensive sectors remained weak, which contributed to an increase in the rate of unemployment and underemployment in 2017. Poverty is also believed to have increased slightly. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which reached 0.8% in 2017, is expected to hover just over 2% in 2018, according to the report.
The report also notes that the federal government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is a positive step towards macroeconomic growth efforts, if properly implemented. In recent times, the government’s focus on business regulations has paid off; Nigeria has moved up in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2018 report, however the report says more intensive effort needs to be made to get the private sector energized. The report says that most of the structural reforms outlined in the ERGP need to go beyond the preliminary stages to ensure the economic growth targets envisaged.
The Nigerian government has identified the power sector as a critical focus, as is evidenced in the Power Sector Recovery Plan, with a focus to support implementation of power sector reform. The economic update qualifies these achievements, noting that Nigeria’s performance is still insufficient, particularly in the social sector.