Nigeria narrowly exits recession, but fears still remain


By Ismail Auwal

Nigeria’s economy unexpectedly came out of a recession in the fourth quarter as restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus were eased.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 0.11% in three months through December from a year earlier, compared with a decline of 3.6% in the third quarter, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Thursday.

The economy contracted 1.92% for the full year, the most since at least 1991, according to International Monetary Fund data. This was because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This means Africa’s largest economy may recover faster than expected as the oil price and output increase this year and also point to the growing dominance of the non-crude sector, a nod to this administration’s diversification efforts.

The government’s forecast for growth of 3% this year is double that of the IMF.

A stronger recovery could ease pressure on the central bank to stoke activity, paving the way for a renewed focus on its price stability mandate.

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