By Cecilia Ologunagba
An economist, Dr Aminu Usman has said that Nigeria could not be said to have exited recession until the average Nigerian feels the positive impact of the “economic progression”.
Usman, Head of Economics Department, Kaduna State University, told our correspondent that the nation had yet to fully come out of recession as claimed adding the only economic proof that recession was over was for things to get better.
In a recent report, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun was quoted as saying that the country is already out of recession to an extent.
She said that with the rate of exit from recession, the economy would soon witness a seven to eight per cent growth.
However, the economist while agreeing that the nation was exiting recession, insisted that the government must put machinery in place to sustain the exit and make it translate to better life for Nigerians.
“Yes, I share her sentiment that Nigeria is almost certainly exiting the recession, but until the government is able to translate these gains to improvement in the life of average Nigerian, we are technically still in recession.
“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) anchors economic policy of the government but its implementation schedule and measurable targets are not made clear for assessment.
“I still doubt that it was packaged in such a way that it will propel the economy to sustainable growth as expressed by the Honourable Minister,’’ the economist said.
He said that the inflation figures and stability in the crude oil price are some of the indicators the country was on its way to further prosperity.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its latest report said that the country’s inflation as measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI) further dropped to 16.10 per cent in June from 16.25 per cent in May.
According to NBS, this is the fifth consecutive decline in the rate of inflation since January.
“I think the minister is saying with the previous inflation figures and the continued stability in the price of crude oil Nigeria is sure to exit the recession any time soon.
“She is also optimistic because projections has shown that the price of crude oil will be stable for the next few months and the criminal activities in the Niger Delta region will continue to be contained,’’ Usman said.
According to him, the current challenge was the fact that despite the stability of the principal revenue sources of government, the life of the average Nigerian has not changed substantially.
“After receiving huge amount for FGN, state government are still owing backlog of salary arrears and are refusing to pay contractors.’’
Nigeria’s economy entered recession in August 2016 after the country witnessed negative growth in the first and two quarters.