President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, on Thursday reacted to the National Bureau of Statistics’ second quarter 2020 Gross Domestic Product estimates which was published on Monday, saying Nigeria is not doing badly.
The NBS had disclosed that the nation’s GDP declined by –6.10% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2020, ending the three-year trend of low but consistently improving positive real growth rates recorded since the 2016/17 recession.
Consequently, for the first half of 2020, real GDP declined by –2.18% year-on-year, compared with 2.11% recorded in the first half of 2019..
Key players in the nation’s economy, including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry had said the government might not be able to service rising debts and fund budgets as the economy shrunk by 6.1 per cent.
But speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the virtual National Council of State meeting, Lawal said Nigeria was not doing badly.
He however said that did not mean that the government should be complacent.
While admitting that the nation still has a long way to go, the President of the Senate, said the government should continue to work on the post-COVID-19 economy.
He said, “We still have a long way to go, we are not where we would have loved to be, but when you are faced with COVID-19, you know that this is a global pandemic and no country has been spared and when you compare your performance in the area of economy with other giants, more robust economies like the USA and Germany, you’ll be happy that you have experienced only -6.10% downturn in your economy when others have 19, others have even more, those are economies that are stronger, that have put in more resources to address the COVID-19 challenges.
“We have tried to put in what we can, but I think the secret here is we have been able to sustain what we are doing even with lesser resources, but I think -6.10%, as reported by the NBS, that’s the downwards turn in our GDP.
“Ordinarily we shouldn’t be happy with it, but in the current circumstance where every country is experiencing this kind of thing, South Africa, the second largest economy in Africa, is experiencing worse.
“We are not doing badly, but that is not to say we should be complacent, I think we should continue to work on the post-COVID-19 economy that we are looking at.
“We should continue to invest to ensure that we protect the employment of our people so that our people don’t fall into joblessness. We should provide palliatives as much as we can for those who are so disadvantaged and require the support of the federal government.
“The sub nationals, the states should also should continue to support the Federal Government in its efforts to keep everybody afloat and I believe that though our resources are scarce, but I think we are facing the right direction and for us in the National Assembly, we’ll continue to approve good policies of government, especially when it comes to areas that will touch the lives of the most ordinary man to help survive this situation and even to help him do better after the COVID-19.”
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