Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: NBS Projects 6.7 Percent Growth This Year

The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, yesterday, forecast a 6.75 percent growth in Nigeria's economy in 2013, driven by progress in agriculture, banking and oil sectors.

The NBS also projected that the country's high inflation rates should ease slightly at the end of 2013.

NBS in a report tagged: "Economic Outlook Report" maintained that the growth as well as the reduction in inflation rate will add to the reputation of Nigeria as a growing investment destination with a huge consumer market of 160 million people.

According to the report, Gross Domestic Product, GDP, should expand by an average of 7.2 per cent next year, 6.9 per cent in 2015 and 6.6 per cent in 2016, adding that the projections assumed no change to monetary policy, stable fuel prices and a stable external environment.

The Federal Government pledges to improve infrastructure and support job creation in areas such as agriculture. This will be key to the economy and stability but reforms have been slow over the last two years, hampered by vested interests and corruption.

Investors have been pleased with the stability brought to monetary policy and the macro-economy in recent months but they remain wary of the government's tendency to squander its oil windfall on reckless spending and corruption.

Foreign exchange reserves are at more than a three-year high and the stock index is up around 18 percent this year as investors show faith in local debt markets and the oil, banking and telecommunication sectors.

The statistics office said consumer inflation eased to 9 percent year-on-year in January from 12 percent in December, dropping within the Central Bank's single-digit target range.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi said last week that he was in no hurry to cut interest rates even if inflation fell.

Food price inflation, the biggest contributor to the headline index, eased to 10.1 percent in January from 10.2 percent, NBS statistics showed.

With Agency Report

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