Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala
By James Emejo
Nigeria's Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on an aggregate grew by 6.17 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, according to the figures released by National Bureau of Statistic (NBS). The growth had largely been aided by the non-oil sector.
But that was only a 0.96 per cent decline in real GDP growth when compared with 7.13 per cent recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2011.
The drop is tied to a decrease in both oil and non-oil sectors including manufacturing, wholesale and retail, telecommunications, among others.
The NBS, in its GDP report for the country covering 2011 and Q1 2012, stated that the first quarter of 2012 had been characterised by a decline in economic activities occasioned by the partial removal of subsidy on petrol and the subsequent civil protest and weak consumer demand following the higher price levels across major segments of the economy.
Nevertheless, the Non-oil sector continued to be a major driver of the economy recording 7.93 per cent growth in real terms in the first quarter of 2012 compared with 8.73 per cent at the corresponding period in 2011.
"Higher costs of production and prevailing security concerns also contributed to the decline in growth rate of real GDP during the period. The nominal GDP for the first quarter of 2012 was estimated at N9,142,858.51 as against the N8,311,227.61 recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2011,” it stated.
The report added that: “Agriculture in Nigeria is predominantly rain-fed. Consequently, farmers suffer tremendous crop failure whenever there are changes in rainfall patterns. Quite often farmers traditional ways of determining when to commence farming fails on account of uncertainties brought about by climatic changes...In terms of agricultural output, the real agricultural GDP growth in the first quarter of 2012 stood at 4.15 per cent as against 5.54 per cent in the corresponding period of 2011. The decrease in growth recorded by the sector in the first quarter of 2012 relative to the corresponding period in 2011 was attributable to low activities by farmers during the period.”
“This result however, surpasses NBS’ earlier growth forecast for the quarter of 5.34 percent, which suggests the economy is mo r e resilient than other-wise anticipated. Nevertheless, stronger growth is expected in the second quarter of 2012 as a result of recent sectoral policies in the non-oil sector,” it added.