The Federal Government has said despite the nation’s recent exit from recession, Nigeria’s economy is still vulnerable to shocks.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, said this while addressing a meeting of the National Economic Council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
According to the highlights of the meeting released by the Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, the minister noted that unemployment and underemployment remained challenges to the nation’s economy.
Akande said the minister gave the council a breakdown of sectoral performance of the economy, disclosing that agriculture had the highest Gross Domestic Product growth.
He told the council that inflation hadcome down to 16.01 per cent in the second quarter from over 18 per cent in the last quarter of 2016.
The statement read in part, “The minister invited the council to note that the NBS has published the GDP for the economy for Q2 2017; that the economy has now recovered from recession growing 0.55 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, with agriculture growing at 3.01 per cent in Q2 2017, industry growing for the first time in nine quarters by 1.45 per cent, while services contracted by -0.85 per cent.
“That the recovery was driven largely by growth in agriculture, manufacturing, crude oil and gas production, solid minerals, financial services and electricity supply.
“That headline inflation has trended downwards every month since January, though further developments in food prices still need to be watched closely.
“That the economy is sustaining the growth in capital imported into the country with improvement in foreign reserves and trade balance.
“That unemployment and underemployment remain a challenge for the economy.
“That despite these improvements, the economy is still deemed vulnerable to shocks and focused policy implementation is required to sustain the recovery; and the need to continue implementing the ERGP for sustainable development.”
Akande added that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, briefed the council on Strategic Export Initiatives – a framework and action plan to grow and diversify export of agro-products.
He said the minister listed exportable agro commodities to include coffee, cashew nuts, rubber, kola nuts, palm kernel, coconuts, cotton, ogbonno, ginger, timber, and shrimps among others.
Ogbeh also told the council that agricultural export had increased by 82 per cent in the first quarters of 2017, while export earnings from agricultural goods stood at N30bn for the same period.
The minister gave the breakdown of the export earnings from various crops as follows: Sesame seeds’ export of N3.7 bn to Turkey; N1.6 bn to China; and N1.6 bn to India; Soya beans export of N3.4bn to Russia; and N1.2 bn to Greece; frozen shrimp export of N2.2bn to the Netherlands; cashew nuts export of N1.8b to Vietnam and crude palm kernel oil export of N1.2bn to the Netherlands.
Ogbeh said the total value agricultural goods’ trade in Q2 2017 was N261.92 bn representing 4.60 per cent of total trade in Q2 (1.03 per cent lower than N30.02bn in Q1).
He puts agriculture exports at 0.96 per cent of total exports in Q2 2017.