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GDP growth, NNPC profit and national cohesion

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NNPC GMD Malam Mele Kyari

Sir: Three important positive developments grabbed the headlines last week and gave hope to a beleaguered nation seized by constant news of bloodshed and violence.

The growth of the GDP by five per cent in the second quarter, a third consecutive climb, and the N287 billion profit posted by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC in the 2020 financial year, announced by President Muhammadu Buhari himself, the first time it’s ever recorded a profit in its 44-year history broke a constant stream of negative stories and astounded many analysts. Very few people saw it coming.

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Capping the week was the uplifting speech by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo last Thursday at the National Cohesion Dialogue organised by the Africa Polling Institute, in which he noted that despite the divisive agenda of some people, Nigeria will prevail over its tribulations due to the resilience, faith, hope and strength of the citizens.

The 5.01 per cent GDP lift in Q2 is the highest quarterly growth since 2014, a significant jump from a marginal 0.51per cent growth in Q1. It signifies the rebound of the economy following the COVID-19-induced contractions seen in Q1 and Q2 2020.

The non-oil sector is a significant contributor to the economic performance in Q2 2021 with a growth of 6.74 per cent in real terms, the fastest growth in the sector since the third quarter of 2014. The contribution of the non-oil sector to GDP increased from 91.07 per cent in Q2 2020 to 92.58 per cent in Q2 2021.

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The main drivers of the Q2 2021 economic growth include trade, information and communication (mainly telecommunications), transportation, electricity, agriculture (crop production), and manufacturing. The service sector, specifically, recorded its strongest performance in more than a decade, growing at 9.27 per cent. These main growth drivers of this second-quarter performance are reflective of the gains from easing restriction of movement locally and internationally, and the improvement in the business and economic environment compared to the same period in 2020.  

Soon after the NBS made the announcement, an excited President Muhammadu Buhari was quick to commend the managers of the economy, urging them to keep at it till the positive development “touches the lives and pockets of the average Nigerian.” He had the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo in mind, among other officials of government who have been working hard to restore the economy on the path of growth. Besides the President, Osinbajo deserves a special acclamation for his hard work in coordinating the economic agenda of the administration. There is no doubt that this recovery is largely due to contributions of the National Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) commissioned by the President and developed by a team of Federal Government officials led by the Vice President. It was then endorsed by all the state governments through the National Economic Council. 

The N2.3 trillion plan, launched last year, aims to respond robustly to the negative impacts of COVID pandemic; identify fiscal measures to grow oil and non-oil revenues for the government; create financial stimulus package for Nigerians; support for MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and support the state governments to play their own roles. 

But it is saddening that despite these positive outlooks, a lot of Nigerians, especially those in the opposing political arena, continue to denigrate the nation and spew fake news to malign the people. The administration should work harder to defeat the spate of insecurity that has apparently swamped out its good deeds.
Etim Etim.
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