Nigeria is expected to release its new Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures on Sunday, that will confirm the country has overtaken South Africa as the biggest economy in Africa.
Nigeria, buoyed by an annual economic growth of 7 per cent in the last decade and the new statistical measurement, has been on course to replace South Africa as the biggest economy in the continent, the National Bureau of Statistics with technical assistance from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank having worked on it for some time.
It is expected that new figures to be released would confirm at least a 40% rise in Nigeria’s GDP to $400 billion against projected total South African GDP this year of $392 billion, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has worked with Nigerian officials on the rebasing.
Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, said on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting, which was presided by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, that the much-expected statistical rebasing of the economy will kick in on Sunday with the new figures.
“Also we received today a report from the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, that after nearly 15 years Nigeria is now ready to rebase its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), after more than one year of hard work by the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry of National Planning, the Chief Statistician of the Federation and International Agencies particularly the IMF, Economic Commission for West Africa, the African Development Bank and other agencies,” Maku said, confirming The Post story on the development in November 2013.
“Right now, the Federal Executive Council was briefed today that on Sunday, by the grace of God, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel around 2:00 p.m., Nigeria will formally release the new GDP figures for the country,” Maku said.
Maku said that the new GDP would specify the rate of growth or decline, impact, challenges, and performance of each sector of the economy in line with international standards and that sectors such as telecommunications and Nollywood that had been unexploited, but, which had recorded significant growth and made massive impact on the economy in recent years, would now be taken into account.
His words: “For the first time in 15 years, we will know, scientifically, what the new GDP is and the contributions of every sector to the economy.
“We will be able to know the sectors that recorded the most progress and which ones are lagging behind.
“We will also know a few economic sectors that have emerged in the last 10 years, which have not been captured properly in the last GDP.
“For example, the telecom sector, which emerged in the year 2000; we can know scientifically the impact the sector has made on the Nigerian economy and GDP growth.
“Secondly, the Nollywood industry is another huge sector that has blossomed, particularly in the last 10 years, making significant contributions to job creation, but not captured in the GDP.
“Now we have rebased the GDP to really know, scientifically, how much impact it has made on the economy,” he explained.
Maku further told reporters that FEC was also briefed by the Federal Ministry of Health on the alleged outbreak of Ebola virus in Nigeria.
He said: “FEC was informed that the health ministry experts, within the week, checked out the reports of purported outbreak of the disease and found none to be true.”
The minister said that the ministry had given assurance to Nigerians of its preparedness to contain the virus should there be an outbreak in the country.
He added: “Citizens are reassured that there is no Ebola fever in the country and all the checks so far undertaken declare clearly that we don’t have it.
“Yes, there are some cases in two or three West African countries but the ministry has assured that should there be anything like that within our boundary it will be quickly tackled,” he said.