Business

Impact of statistics on Nigerian economy

By Ayobami Adedinni

Before now, data regarding Nigeria such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Inflation and Unemployment rate were most times stale, debatable, and often challenged by external sources if not wholly contradicted by data from other ministries and agencies on the same subject –  thereby making it difficult for concrete analysis or engagement(s).

Today, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is easily one of the more recognized and quoted sources of data regarding Nigeria by local and international analysts, market operators, economists, journalists and development agencies including international bodies such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Development Finance Institutions as well as public service officials.

The National Bureau of Statistics is Nigeria’s official national statistical agency charged with the responsibility of providing statistics on a wide range of economic, social, population and environmental matters, covering government, business and the community.

It also has a role, to coordinate the statistical operations of official bodies and liaise with international organisations.

The nature of statistics is that it could summarily present the global picture of economic activities, but the true picture – beautiful or ugly – is appreciated by looking closely at the relative performance of each of the economic activities.

It was therefore with relief that the nation received from NBS the news that  it had been delivered from a year-long hibernation when it declared that the ominous word ‘recession’ has been deleted from its economic predicament.

According to the Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive of NBS, Dr Yemi Kale, the growth in the petroleum, agriculture, banking and insurance, electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply and other services, which on the aggregate grew by 0.45 percent, helped to drag the economy out of recession.

Apparently, improved crude oil export and the relatively higher oil prices in the international market were the vehicles that transported the economy out of the dangerous terrain.

In the quarter considered for the statistical analysis, crude oil export averaged 1.84million barrels per day, which is put at 0.15 million barrels per day higher than the daily average production recorded in the first quarter.

Also, the reduction in the activities of vandals in the Niger Delta has made it possible for Nigeria to improve its efforts to meet its OPEC crude oil export quota. No doubt, this has been achieved due to ongoing engagements between government and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.

According to the bureau, Nigeria’s Consumer Price Index, CPI, which measures inflation, decreased to 15.90 per cent making it 0.01 per cent lower than the 15.91 per cent recorded in October 2017.

However, despite the month-on-month decrease, the inflation rate increased year on year by 15.90 per cent in November 2017. According to the report, “increases were recorded in all classifications of Individual Consumption by Purpose, COICOP, divisions that yield the Headline Index.

“On a month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 0.78 per cent in November 2017, 0.02 per cent points higher from the rate of 0.76 per cent recorded in October. “This represents the first rise in month-on-month inflation following five consecutive months on month contraction in headline inflation since May 2017.”

The percentage change in the average composite CPI for the twelve month period ending in November 2017 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve month period was 16.76 per cent, showing 0.21 per cent point lower from 16.97 per cent recorded in October 2017.

In the quarter considered for the statistical analysis, crude oil export averaged 1.84million barrels per day, which is put at 0.15 million barrels per day higher than the daily average production recorded in the first quarter.

Also, the reduction in the activities of vandals in the Niger Delta has made it possible for Nigeria to improve its efforts to meet its OPEC crude oil export quota. No doubt, this has been achieved due to ongoing engagements between government and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.

We, therefore, commend government for engaging in measures that have calmed frayed nerves and curbed, to some extent, the criminal sabotage of our oil pipelines.

The Statistician-General was quite frank on the interpretation of the figures reeled out by the NBS. Dr Kale admitted that it was an average of the performances of the 42 economic activities.

He revealed that while the agriculture sector grew, the manufacturing sector contracted by -10.88 per cent, motor vehicle (-19.72 per cent), electrical and electronics (-1.7 per cent) and chemical and pharmaceutical products declined by 0.98 per cent.

As the nation relishes in the euphoria of our exit from recession, government must embark of pragmatic measures to redeem the majority of Nigerians from this cul-de-sac.

The growth in the oil sector can impact on the downtrodden only when the earnings from petroleum are distributed with a formula that targets the downtrodden. Without such measure our exit from recession will be mere statistical talks.

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