Yemi Kale, chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says the effect of Nigeria coming out of recession will not be immediately felt by the people.
Kale made the statement at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday.
“There is a different stage Nigeria must go through before the masses will feel the effects of going out of recession,” he said.
“Out of recession is the first step which is very important then the country can talk of economic recovery which is going back to where Nigeria was before the recession.
“Recession is just a technical word; we are comparing 2017 and 2016.”
Kale said the reason Nigerians were not feeling the real impact of the positive economic growth rate on their lives is because the economy is still largely driven by oil.
“Recession is not about the price of your goods, not whether unemployment is going up or down, not whether you have quality education; it’s purely your gross domestic product,” he said.
“Your outputs of goods and services in the economy are going down and the gross domestic products (GDP) is an accumulation of 46 different economic activities in Nigeria and the overall number.
“Whether positive or negative will determine whether you are in recession or out of recession.
“Now, within those 46 activities, some sectors will do very well and will be positive, some will do badly, some will do worse and some will stay the same way they are.”
Kale said the important thing for the country was to maintain the situation so that Nigeria would not go back to recession.
He warned the country against relaxing, saying the GDP is still on the negative side.
He said coming out of recession was not about quality but the quantum of growth.
“There is growth but there is a problem with the distribution across the country,” he said.
In response to a question that the exit from recession was a political gimmick, he said GDP report which showed that Nigeria exited recession in the second quarter was not politically motivated.
“It is not political because it is the same bureau that gave other negative data,” he said.
“Things have improved but we are not there yet, it is only food prices that are still high.’’
According to him, the bureau is an agency of government that has the independence to carry out survey and publish its findings based on international best practices.
“The fact that the NBS can boldly say, when the statistician-general is up for renewal, that the economy is in recession and inflation has gone up to 17 per cent, speaks a lot about the integrity of the bureau,” he said.
“So, in terms of bureau doctoring numbers for politicians, I don’t think anyone can make that claim and NBS can never be political. We don’t do it.”
On September 5, the bureau announced that Nigeria was out of economic recession.
It said the nation’s GDP grew by 0.55 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the quarter, indicating the emergence of the economy from recession.
The bureau said the figure indicated the economy was out of recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since the first quarter of 2016.
An economy is said to be in recession after contracting for two consecutive quarters.
The economy slipped into recession in the second quarter of 2016.
The bureau, however, stated that the growth recorded in quarter was 2.04 per cent higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 (–1.49 per cent).
It said it was higher by 1.46 per cent points from rate recorded in the preceding quarter, (revised to –0.91 per cent from – 0.52 per cent).