By Lucy Nwachukwu
Abuja – A don , Dr Charles Nwaekeaku, has advised the Federal Government to ensure that the country’s exit from economic recession translates into lowering of prices of goods in the market.
Nwaekeaku, an Associate Professor of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday announced that Nigeria had exited from its economic recession.
The NBS announced this in its Gross Domestic Product (GPD) Report for the Second Quarter of the year released in Abuja.
It stated that the nation’s GDP grew by 0.55 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the quarter, indicating the emergence of the economy from recession.
The bureau stated that the figure indicated that the economy was out of recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since first quarter 2016.
Nwaekeaku expressed delight that the country was officially out of recession and called on the government to ensure the exit impacted on the prices of goods in the market.
“As a Nigerian citizen, I am happy to hear that we have exited; it is a welcome development and shows that there is hope; it also signifies a major link out of the level of recession.
“But my prayer is that it should be translated into concrete terms which will be reflected on the quantity of food on the table of an average Nigerian which is still a far cry.
“The prices of everything in the market are still very high, so I do not know how we got the figures by the NBS, or could this be a conspiracy between some agencies of government to give us hope?’’
Nwaekeaku said that the inflation rate in the country was still very high and was more prevalent in the prices of food items.
He said the report noted an increase in about four sectors of the economy, including oil, agriculture, manufacturing and trade.
According to him, “these increases are not marginal, they are not significant. But beyond that, my worry is that this statistics rolled out by the NBS are yet to be translated into concrete terms.
“It is believed that inflation has dropped a little but if you go to the market, a mudu of garri has gone up to N400 from about 250 in the last two weeks
“Although the news we have heard is heartwarming, an average Nigerian is yet to see the impact, the purchasing power of the naira has not changed.
The don commended the move by the NNPC to crash the prices of petroleum products such as fuel and cooking gas, saying it was a welcome development for the country.
He, however, said that the sustained oil price in the international market might have influenced the figures by the bureau.
He said,“ what may have influenced the figures is the sustained oil prices at the international market which depend essentially on a number of factors beyond the control of our national economy.
“So if anything happens to the prices of oil or the production from the Niger-Delta, it means that we shall be back to square one.
Nwaekeaku expressed concern over the reliability of the NBS report, stating that many small enterprises and large companies that folded up during recession were still yet to be reopened.
He said,“ If these businesses that folded up during recession have not started doing business, how did we get the figures that showed increase in the manufacturing sector?
“Trade again shows remarkable improvement, but what have we produced and exported other than oil, what other non-oil products have we exported and how reliable are the figures?’’