By John Ikani
Latest data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicates that Nigeria’s economy grew just over 4% in the third quarter, lifted by higher oil prices, as the country targets mass COVID-19 vaccination from this month.
According to the NBS, the growth was the fourth consecutive after a COVID-19-induced recession.
While noting that the third-quarter growth rate slowed compared with the previous quarter, the NBS added that it was fuelled by rising prices for oil which is Nigeria’s main export.
“The prospect of full recovery is glaring … provided we sustain the performance,” said Simon Harry, the Head of the statistics office.
Nigeria had been grappling with low growth before the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation.
The World Bank has said Nigeria’s growth lags the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Its economy is estimated to grow up to 3% this year, with increased vaccinations against coronavirus.
Africa’s most-populous country has a goal to vaccinate more than half of its 200 million population to reach herd immunity. To date, only 2.9% of those eligible to get vaccines have been inoculated.
The NBS said the non-oil sector, which the government is trying to make the main growth sector, rose 5.44% in the third quarter. Trade, telecoms, crop production, financial institutions and food production lifted growth in the quarter.
With growth recovering and inflation down for the seventh straight month in October, few expect Nigeria’s central bank to alter interest rates next week.