By Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor)
The federal government has attributed the improved economic performance of the country to the positive growth recorded in 23 out of 46 sectors in the first quarter of 2021.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said this during her presentation of the first quarter of 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) results and other performance indicators of Nigeria at the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
According to her, “there is a further illustration that the slow, but gradual recovery process is indicative of the fact that business operations are returning to normal and that restrictions of movements and commercial activities have been relaxed after extended closedown in the year 2020.
“The agricultural sector posted a strong growth at the rate of 2.28 percent in the first quarter of 2021, compared to previous quarters. This growth in agriculture signifies the resilience of the agricultural sector,” she stated.
She further stated that, “the industrial sector recorded positive growth, even though a weak one, but the growth is a positive one.
“Services recorded a slight dip, but a small one at 0.39 percent.”
The finance minister also noted that the recent growth, “was boosted, by increase in crude oil prices as well as increase in production in the first quarter of 2020.”
In her words, “we have seen this positive growth being contributed by not just the oil sector, but also by economic activities within the metal sector, the cement sector, electricity, telecommunications, food and beverages as well as human health and social services.”
However, “some sectors recorded negative growth and these sectors include quarrying and other minerals, oil refinery, road transport, air transport, rail transport, education, as well as hotel that is accommodation and food services,” she explained.
With regards to inflation, Zainab Ahmed stated that “throughout 2020 and even three quarters, a year before 2020, inflation had maintained an upward trend but for the first time in 19 months, inflation has shown a slight dip. It is a very slight dip, but it is a positive point for us.”
Subsequently, she projected that government is “looking at inflation beginning to trend downwards. Food inflation will not come down as fast as the other aspects of inflation, but it is important to also see that the rate of food inflation also showed a slight dip.”
According to her “amidst the global pandemic, which is gradually improving, the return of international trade, recovery in oil prices and successful vaccination programmes across the world are contributing to favourable results in most economies.”