Nigeria’s economy on course for improvement – Presidency

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The Presidency on Tuesday said the nation’s economy which is currently in recession was currently on course for recovery and growth.

This was contained in the 23rd newsletter published by the Presidency Office of Digital Engagement, a copy of which was posted on the official website of the Presidency, @AsoRock.

The Presidency said there were 11 reasons to prove that the nation’s economy was gradually coming out of recession.

It said, “After two consecutive quarters of negative growth, the non-oil economy showed, in Q3 2016, a modest return to positive territory, at 0.03%.

“This was partly due to the continued good performance of agriculture and the solid minerals, two sectors prioritised by the Federal Government.

“Agriculture grew by 4.54% in the quarter under consideration of which growth in crop production at nearly 5% was at its highest since the first quarter of 2014. Growth in the solid mineral sector averaged about 7%.”

According to the document, the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria substantially raised local rice production in 2016

It explained that yields improved from two tonnes per hectare to as much as seven tonnes per hectare, in some states.

It added that the Fertilizer Intervention Project which involves a partnership with the Government of Morocco, for the supply of phosphate is on course to significantly raise local production, and bring the retail price of fertilizer down by about 30 percent.

The government said the newly established Development Bank of Nigeria was taking off, with initial funding of $1.3bn provided by the World Bank, German Development Bank, the African Development Bank and Agence Française de Development to provide medium and long-term loans to MSMEs.

It also disclosed that a new Social Housing Programme tagged ‘Family Homes Fund’ is starting in this year with a N100bn provision in the 2017 Budget while the rest of the funding will come from the private sector.

The document added, “More than N800bn has been released for capital expenditure in the 2016 budget, since implementation started in June.

“This is the largest ever capital spend within a single budget year in the history of Nigeria. These monies have enabled the resumption of work on several stalled projects – road, rail and power projects – across the count.

“All 4 components of the Social Investment Programme have now taken off. The SIP is the largest and most ambitious social safety net programme in the history of Nigeria, with more than 1 million beneficiaries so far – 200,000 N-Power beneficiaries, 23,400 Government Enterprise and Empowerment Scheme beneficiaries, 1,000,000 Homegrown School Feeding Programme beneficiaries, as well as ongoing Conditional Cash Transfer payments across nine pilot states.

“Strategic Engagements with OPEC and in the Niger Delta have played an important part in raising our expected oil revenues. Already, Nigeria’s External Reserves have grown by more than $4bn in the last three months.

The government also said the country’s collaboration with China, proceeding from President Muhammadu Buhari’s April 2016 visit, has unlocked billion of dollars in infrastructure funding, adding that construction will begin on the first product of that collaboration, a 150km/hour rail line between Lagos and Ibadan, in Q1 2017.

The National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, the Federal Government’s medium-term Economic Plan, is due for launch in February 2017, and will chart a course for the Nigerian economy over the next four years (2017 – 2020).

“The almost eight-fold over-subscription of our recent Eurobond (orders in excess of $7.8bn compared to a pre-issuance target of $1bn demonstrates strong market appetite for Nigeria, and shows confidence by the international investment community in Nigeria’s economic reform agenda,” it added.

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