By Adedapo Adesanya
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has lauded the federal government for the effort it took to exit Nigeria from recession in the fourth quarter of 2020.
The commendation came from the ACCI President, Mr Abubakar Al-Mujtaba, on Friday in Abuja in a statement signed by the chamber’s Media Officer, Mrs Latifat Opoola.
Mr Al-Mujtaba said that the growth in agriculture and telecommunications, which offset a sharp drop in oil production, was impressive, adding that he was hopeful that other sectors would pick up as well.
Business Post had reported that the Nigerian economy slipped into recession in the third quarter of 2020 with a decline of 3.62 per cent, having contracted 6.10 per cent in the second quarter of the year.
This led to Nigeria’s second recession in five years and the worst in over 30 years.
When the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures for Q4 2020 and the full year this week, it said Nigeria exited recession after a marginal growth of 0.11 per cent, though the country recorded a 1.92 per cent contraction for the full year 2020, better than the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projection.
The ACCI chief, while reacting to this development, said despite wobbling out of recession, Nigeria’s headline inflation rose to 16.47 per cent in January 2021.
According to him, by implication, there will be sustained inflationary pressures on consumers’ purchasing power in the coming months, causing a strain on businesses in the country.
The ACCI boss, while commending the government in its efforts at taking the country out of poverty, said it should build on more fiscal and monetary measures.
Mr Al-Mujtaba said this would address the constraints of farmers, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and manufacturers which were critical at this stage to drive sustainable growth of the country.
The chamber president said the government also needed to reduce its reliance on proceeds from the sale of crude oil.
“Government at all levels must forge partnerships between universities, research institutions and public, private sector institutions in developing and implementing solutions to aid productivity in agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
“This will be important in order to build a sustainable productive base for the nation,” Mr Al-Mujtaba noted.
The ACCI president also commended the federal government in its drive to improve the decay in infrastructure, commending its $2 billion rail line project connecting Kano to the Niger Republic.
He said that the reopening of the four land borders was also a step in the right direction.