At the end of its weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, the federal government announced that the approved new figure of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), would be released this Sunday, by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.
With a current nominal GDP of about $305 billion, Nigeria’s GDP is projected to be boosted by 40 to 60 percent and to surpass that of South Africa which is presently $350 billion.
Minister of information, Labaran Maku, while briefing State House correspondents after yesterday’s council meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said that the rebasing of the country’s GDP is expected to show the actual performance of the country’s economy in the last 15 years.
While stressing that the figure to be released on Sunday came as a result of the hard work of both the ministry of Finance and National Planning, the Chief Statistician of the Federation and the international agencies like International Monetary Fund IMF, the African Development Bank, AfDB and the International Development Bank, IDB, Maku explained that with a new and reliable GDP figures, government will be able to carry out proper planning for development purposes while investors would understand better indices of growth of the various sectors that make up the economy.
He said, “We received today briefing by the CME and Minister of Finance, that after nearly 15 years, Nigeria is now ready to rebase its GDP after more than one year of hard work by the ministries of Finance and National Planning, the Chief Statistician to the Federation and the international agencies like IMF, AfDB, IDB”.
Maku added that “You will recall that the last time that Nigeria issued new statistics and GDP figures was 15 years. And this is not supposed to be as we are supposed to be doing this every five years.
“So we hope that by Sunday this new GDP figure will be released and the importance of this is that for the first time in 15 years, we will know scientifically what the new GDP figures are, the contributions of every sectors to the economy, we will be able to know the sectors that recorded the most progress and which ones are lagging behind.
“The importance of rebasing the GDP is to ensure that after every five years every nation wants to know how much progress the GDP has made. What are the sectors contributions, what are the challenges they are facing, which sectors are moving forward, which ones are lagging behind. Without appropriate understanding of the GDP and the details of how sectors are performing, it will affect policy. When the figures hopefully are released on Sunday we will then be able to analyse sector by sector and that will improve our budgetary planning, that will improve national planning, and indicate which sectors needed added attention”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has assured that there is no trace of Ebola fever in the country.
Maku told newsmen that, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan briefed council on verification checks that have been carried out by the ministry since the alleged outbreak of the disease in the country.
He said, “Nigeria is prepared right now to curtail any outbreak particularly given reports that few countries on the west coast like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have reported cases of Ebola fever and given our proximity to these countries.
“The ministry has taken every precaution including getting vaccines and medicines to ensure that should there be any incidence in Nigeria everything would be dealt with precision. So far, there is nothing like Ebola fever in Nigeria and council was reassured that every step has been taken to ready our country just in case, infected persons come into the country from our neighbouring countries which unfortunately have been reportedly affected. So citizens are reassured again that there is no Ebola fever in the country and all the checks so far undertaken declared clearly that we don’t have it, yes there are 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”.