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Economist urges FG to tackle challenges limiting economic growth

An economist, Prof. Ndubisi Nwokoma, has urged the Federal Government to intensify efforts in addressing the growing uncertainty and insecurity currently facing the economy.

Nwokoma, Director, Centre for Economic Policy Analysis and Research, University of Lagos, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Thursday.

He was reacting to the World Bank forecast which raised Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth projection for 2021 to 1.8 per cent, higher than the 1.1 per cent it had estimated for the country earlier this year.

According to him, the dynamism and uncertainties in the economies of many African countries has made some of the world bank projections unreliable.

“It will be a good development if these itemised challenges are addressed and the 1.8 per cent forecast comes true.

“Nigeria needs the growth to enhance a sustainable recovery path.

“In Nigeria, from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data, fourth quarter 2020 stood at 0.11, growing slightly to 0.51 in first quarter 2021; it is difficult to foresee a quantum leap to 1.8 per cent annual growth for a number of reasons.

“First, there’s growing uncertainty and insecurity in the Nigerian economy with devastating impact on investment and national output. This should seriously be tackled and made a priority,’ he said.

The expert noted that the resurgence in the oil sector may not be sustainable given the slow recovery of the global economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even the recent Twitter ban, if not quickly resolved, can have a negative impact on output.\

“Lots of capital appear to be leaving the country now due the growing uncertainties,” Nwokoma said.

Recall that the World Bank, in its June 2021 Global Economic Prospect released recently, also forecast the GDP growth to hit 2.1 per cent for Nigeria in 2022.

This is higher than the 1.8 per cent it had predicted for the country in its earlier report released in January.

According to figures the NBS released in May, Nigeria recorded a GDP growth rate of 0.51 per cent (year-on-year) in the first quarter of 2021, compared with the 0.11 per cent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The World Bank hinged its positive prediction for Nigeria on the expectation that crude oil prices would remain high as well as the government effecting structural reforms and flexible exchange rate management. (NAN)

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