By Cecilia Ologunagba
Abuja – Dr Olatunji Arowolo, a statistician says the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that recorded 2.83 per cent growth in the fourth quarter, 2018 is a sign that the Federal Government is diversifying the economy.
Arowolo, a lecturer at the Statistics Department, Lagos State Polytechnic, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja while reacting to the GDP figures.
The GDP figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the full year 2018 real GDP stood at 1.93 per cent, higher than the 0.82 per cent growth rate recorded in 2017.
The figures indicated the strongest quarter growth since the economy slipped into recession in 2016.
According to Arowolo, the GDP figures in the fourth quarter means the economy is better by 2.38 per cent over the 3rd quarter, 2018.
“The 2.38 per cent in real terms year-on-year means the economy recorded positive growth in the fourth quarter of 2018.
“The 2.7 per cent in the non-oil sector implies that non-oil sector has improved by 2.7 per cent, meaning that we are diversifying and it has increased by 2.7 per cent.’’
He, however, said that -1.62 per cent in the report meant that the dependence on oil had decreased by 1.62 per cent.
“It means that our revenue or gain from the oil sector has decreased by 1.6 per cent,’’ Arowolo said.
Also, an Economist, Dr Aminu Usman urged the Federal Government to address structural operational problems bedevilling the oil sector.
The oil sector recorded a real GDP growth rate of –1.62 per cent (year-on-year) in fourth quarter, 2018, indicating a decline of –12.81 per cent points relative to the growth rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2017.
However, when compared to third quarter, 2018, growth increased by 1.29 per cent points. On an annual basis, real GDP growth for the oil sector stood at 1.14 per cent as against 4.69 per cent recorded in 2017.
For 2018, the contribution of the oil sector to aggregate real GDP was 8.60 per cent, slightly lower when compared to 8.67 per cent in 2017.
Usman, who is the Head of Economics Department, Kaduna State University, said the negative growth rate in the oil sector highlighted the structural and operational problems bedevilling the sector.
“It tells us reasons for the shortfalls in oil revenue projections and its effects on capital budget implementation.
“It also calls to question why the government always budgeted daily oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day when the annual average daily production over the years had been less than two million barrels per day,’’ he said.
The report further showed that the average daily oil production stood at 1.91 million barrels per day (mbpd) in the fourth quarter, 2018.
This, it said was lower than the 1.95 mbpd recorded in the same quarter of 2017, and 1.94 mbpd in third quarter of 2018. (NAN)