Uche Usim, Abuja
True to earlier experts’ predictions, Nigeria has officially slid into its worst economic recession in over 30 years.
The development was catalysed by the devastating COVID-19 pandemic which further eroded the little economic gains Nigeria had recorded after its shaky exit from the 2016 episode.
The gross domestic product numbers released on Saturday by the Director-General of the National Bureau of Statistics, Dr Yemi Kale, showed a contraction of 3.62 percent in the third quarter of 2020.
This makes it the second consecutive quarterly GDP decline since the recession of 2016. The cumulative GDP for the first nine months of 2020, therefore, stood at -2.48 percent.
The last time Nigeria recorded such cumulative GDP was in 1987, when GDP declined by 10.8 percent.
World Bank and NBS figures indicate that this is also the second recession under President Muhamadu Buhari’s democratic reign — and his fourth as Head of State.
The COVID-19 pestilence led to unprecedented crash in crude sales, coming down to less than$10/barrel earlier in the year. For an oil-reliant nation like Nigeria, government’s revenue horrifyingly nosedived, exposing the economy to global shocks and vulnerabilities.
Another reason experts adduced for the recession is the blooming insecurity, which has led to a huge slump in agricultural production and the attendant high food prices.
Again, the poverty gap is widening, just as unemployment.