Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Mixed reactions on recession exit compel NBS to deny doctoring data

Following barrage of negative reactions trailing the recent announcement that the economy exited recession at the end of second quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has come out to deny that its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report was not politically motivated or doctored.

The Statistician-General for the Federation and chief executive officer of NBS, Dr Yemi Kale stated this during a chat with journalists in Abuja, saying “The NBS is an agency of government that has the independence to carry out survey and publish its findings based on international best practices”.

He disagreed with several analysts including the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who have been making claims that the outcome of the report may have been influenced by political considerations.

Kale said even at the risk of not being reappointed at the tail end of his tenure, economic reports that were not in favour of government activities were published by the agency, adding that if he didn’t doctor the report then, there was no basis to do so now.

According to him, “In this administration, I am the one that published that we are in recession, and I am also the one that is saying, we are now out of recession.”

Earlier in his reaction, the Chairman of the PDP’s Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, dismissed the celebration of the country’s exit from recession, saying the news of the exit is mere statistics, which did not reflect the “reality as it affects ordinary Nigerians.”

“For any economic recovery to be meaningful, it must positively impact on the lives of the people at the lower level,” he stated.

In his submission, the General Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, said upon the exit of the country from recession, there has been no visible improvement in the standard of living, salaries, rate of employment and quality of life of Nigerian workers.

While noting that the positive Gross Domestic Product growth in the second quarter was commendable, he averred that if the upward trend will be sustained in subsequent quarters, the impact on the livelihood of Nigerians and workers would be felt.

However, key concern of experts who had reviewed the exit centre on the fact that the economic growth rate was weak and largely dependent on improvement in oil prices and output, and as such, might not be sustainable in the event of a shock in the local or global oil market.

The experts said policymakers still had a lot to do to keep the economy out of recession and experience higher economic growth rate that could guarantee better living conditions and standards.

Accordingly, development economists, who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent, advised policymakers to take steps that would make the country’s economic growth and recovery to be based on factors that were not dependent on the oil sector.