'Nigeria's economic growth should reflect in citizens welfare' - LCCI

While Nigeria may have exited a recession, it appears the average Nigerian citizen has not felt the impact yet.

In the third quarter of 2017, Nigeria exited its worst recession in 25 years which was followed by President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Finance Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and other economists to say that it was much too early to celebrate this.

The LCCI observed that the marginal growth of 0.55% with which Nigeria exited recession was too slow and largely as a result of the improvement of oil prices and oil production. The LCCI emphasized that this growth is fragile and Nigeria is not completely out of the woods where a recession is concerned.

The organization also said that the exit from the recession could only be sustainable if the average Nigerian felt the impact and that the nation needed a more conducive business environment for the private sector and small business owners responsible for mass employment in the economy.

Although the economic growth has since been steady, with the continued improvement in oil prices and production, it has not reflected in some sectors, such as manufacturing. The manufacturing sector slipped back into -2.85% in the third quarter of 2017 after witnessing a positive growth of 1.36% in the first quarter.

Rising unemployment in the country seems to confirm the fact that the growth is not impacting on the populace, which with the data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics in its latest report revealing that more than 4 million Nigerians were unemployed in 2017.

Also in its recent economic review for 2017, the LCCI maintained that the exit from recession and Nigeria’s economic growth should have reflected in the cost of doing business, the productivity of investors, competitiveness of firms and the sustainability of investments.

The Director-General, LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said, "And to the average Nigerian, what matters is the effect on welfare, especially lower food prices, reduced cost of healthcare, improved transportation system, constant power supply and security of lives and property."

"With an unemployment rate at an all-time high of 18.8%  in the third quarter of 2017, and many employers including the public sector finding it difficult to pay workers as and when due in 2017, we need to worry about recovery and rapid job-creating growth as we move into 2018."

Yusuf also noted that while the impact of foreign exchange fluctuation on prices could have moderated, food supply and related issues such as transportation and logistics remained a big problem in the country.

"This is partly the consequence of the decline in farming activities due to the security challenges of farming caused by the continued insurgency in the North-East and activities of herdsmen across the country," Yusuf further explained.

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