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Nigeria becomes Africa’s biggest economy, as recession hits South Africa

By Idowu Abdullahi,

Business and economy analyst, Bloomberg, has cited economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2019 and the Nigerian Central Bank’s positive input to boost credit growth as some of major steps that led Nigeria back to being the biggest economy in Africa.

Nigeria’s leap back to being the number one economy in the continent was as result of a second recession that hit South Africa in space of two years during which it had held sway as the biggest economy in Africa.

According to data from Statistic South Africa, the rainbow nation’s ordeal came after her Gross Domestic Product shrank by 1.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019, following a revised 0.8 per cent contraction recorded in the third quarter of the year in review.

Bloomberg had reported on Tuesday that emergence of either of the two nations on the number one spot as the biggest economy on the continent largely depended on which exchange rates would be used for the West African nation, adding that the official naira rate of 306 per dollar and the weaker market exchange rate of around 360 used by almost all investors put Nigeria at top of the pyramid.

“Nigeria’s economic growth beat forecasts in the fourth quarter, helping its economy to expand the most in four years in 2019 as oil output increased and the central bank took steps to boost credit growth. The GDP in the West African country stood at $476bn or $402bn, depending on the rate used.

“South Africa’s economy went the opposite direction. It slumped into a second recession in consecutive years, contracting more than projected in the fourth quarter as power cuts weighed on output and business confidence.

“For the full year, expansion was 0.2 per cent, the least since the global financial crisis, and even less than the central bank and government estimated. Based on an average rand-dollar exchange rate of 14.43 for the year, the GDP was $352bn.” the report said.

It would be recalled that Nigeria’s GDP grew by 2.55 per cent in Q4 2019, recorded as the highest quarterly growth since the country’s recession of 2016, while her economic growth rose by 2.27 per cent in 2019, far above the  growth rate of 1.91 per cent recorded in 2018.

However, according to Bloomberg, it would be a good time for the nation’s economy as projections showed that Nigeria’s economy would continue to grow faster.

APC claims glory, says Buhari’s policies aided Nigeria’s re-emergence as biggest economy

Barely hours after Bloomberg released its report, the All Progressive Congress (APC) has attributed emergence of Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa to policies of the Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.

According to the ruling party, transparency of the current administration and its diversification drive remains catalyst that launched the country back to the enviable heights it once occupied.

APC, in a statement released on Wednesday morning through its National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, explained that the commendable progress being recorded by the administration showed that the Buhari-led government was doing the right thing, adding that despite dwindling resources as a result of fall in oil prices, the country had continued to witness economic growth.

“Since the Nigerian economy exited recession in 2017, the country’s economic growth has not been a fluke but a result of deliberate practices and policies of the President Buhari administration that has increased transparency in governance, diversification of the economy away from oil, improved fiscal management, and a healthy protectionist approach which has aided the growth and increased the capacity of domestic producers and in turn created jobs,”

“The hugely successful anti-corruption efforts such as implementation of a Treasury Single Account that allows the government to better track and manage its resources and a more transparent government payroll and personnel system that eliminated duplication and ‘ghost workers’ has alleviated poverty and made more cash available for critical infrastructure projects”.

The political party urged Nigerians to support drive of the federal government and to believe that all government policies had been made to benefit citizens and residents of the country.

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