Amid the growing devastation of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, the National Bureau of Statistics NBS) said the aggregate value of goods and service in the country’s economy otherwise called Gross Domestic Product (GDP) managed to grow by 0.11 percent (year-on-year) in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The statistics agency said the latest figure translates to an aggregate GDP of about N43.6trillion in nominal terms in the quarter under review, the first positive quarterly growth in the last three quarters under the COVID-19 era.
Compared to the aggregate GDP of N396trillion in fourth quarter of 2019, the NBS said the performance is higher, representing a year-on-year nominal growth rate of 10.07%.
Relative to growth in the fourth quarter of 2019, the NBS said performance was lower by –2.26% points, but higher than the preceding quarter by 6.68% points, with growth rates recorded at 12.34% and 3.39% respectively.
In the second quarter of the year, the country’s GDP plunged from a growth position of 1.87 percent in the first quarter to negative 6.1 percent as a result of the biting impact of COVID-19.
Although the performance in the third quarter improved to negative 3.62 percent, two consecutive negative outcomes meant the country slipped into recession, the second in five years of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting the global economy, government officials were still optimistic the economy would stage an early recovery, latest by the first quarter of 2021.
Both the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, cited the various interventions of the government boost the economy and set it on the path of recovery.
The NBS said although the latest marginal growth in GDP is weak, that it back into the positive territory is a reflection of the gradual return of economic activities following the easing of restricted movements and limited local and international commercial activities in the preceding quarters.
The statistics agency noted that while the GDP growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2020, it ranked lower than the level attained the previous year by –2.44% points.
It was however higher by 3.74% points when compared to the negative 3.62 percent figure in the third quarter of 2020.
On a quarterly basis, the NBS said real GDP growth was about 9.68%, a second positive consecutive quarter-on-quarter real growth rate in 2020 after two negative quarters. Overall, in 2020, the annual growth of real GDP was estimated at –1.92%, a decline of –4.20% points when compared to the 2.27% recorded in 2019.
On a sector-by-sector basis, the NBS said the average daily crude oil production of about 1.56 million barrels per day (MBPD) in the fourth quarter of 2020 was lower than the corresponding figure of 2.00MBPD in the same quarter of 2019 by -0.44MBPD and the third quarter of 2020 by –0.11MBPD.
Overall, the oil sector contributed about 5.87% to total real GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020, down from the corresponding period of 2019 and the preceding quarter, where it contributed 7.32% and 8.73% respectively.
On the other hand, the NBS said the country’s non-oil sector grew by 1.69% in real terms in the fourth quarter of 2020, slower than the 2.26% recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019, but better than the –2.51% growth rate recorded in the preceding quarter.
In real terms, the NBS said the non-oil sector contributed about 94.13% to the nation’s aggregate GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020, higher than the 92.68% contribution in the fourth quarter of 2019 and 91.27% contribution in the third quarter of 2020.
For 2020, the NBS said the non-oil sector contributed 91.84% to real GDP, higher than 91.22% in 2019.
The positive GDP growth in the sector, the NBS said, was driven by the growth in Information and Communication (Telecommunications & Broadcasting); Agriculture (Crop Production), Real Estate, Manufacturing (Food, Beverage & Tobacco), Mining and Quarrying (Quarrying and other Minerals), and Construction.
Contribution to the real GDP by industry, the NBS said, showed that agriculture accounted for 26.95%; industries (18.77%) and services (54.28%).
The mining & quarrying sector, which consists of crude petroleum and natural gas, coal mining, metal ore and quarrying and other minerals sub-activities.
Crude petroleum and natural gas as the main contributor to the sector with a weight of 86.79% in fourth quarter of 2020, and 93.95% for the annual contribution.
The Agricultural sector, made up of crop production, livestock, forestry and fishing, grew by 14.03% year-on-year in nominal terms in the fourth quarter of 2020, an increase of 0.23% points from the same quarter of 2019.
Agriculture contributed 24.23% to nominal GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020, higher than the rates in the fourth quarter of 2019, but lower than the third quarter of 2020 which recorded 23.38% and 28.41% respectively. The annual contribution of agriculture to nominal GDP in 2020 was 24.45%.
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