Nigeria's economy received a positive performance report, with the gross domestic product (GDP) growth at about 2.38 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Tuesday.
The growth in real terms (year-on-year) rose from about 1.81 percent in the previous quarter of the year, the report said.
The latest report coming few days to the forthcoming presidential election on Saturday, represents a 0.27 percent points increase when compared to the growth rate of 2.11 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Also, the NBS said the report showed a rise of about 0.55 percent points when compared with the growth rate in the third quarter of 2018, with real GDP growth on a quarterly basis of about 5.31 percent.
The implication of the fourth quarter growth performance is that real GDP grew at an annual growth rate of 1.93 percent in 2018, compared to 0.82 percent recorded in 2017, an increase of 1.09 percent points.
Analysts said the latest GDP figures are "positively surprising", as most prediction never expected the performance to be beyond 2.0 percent average, considering the sluggish performance of the economy since exiting recession in 2017.
The statistician general of the federation, Yemi Kale, described the GDP performance as good, but inadequate to deal with the unemployment scourge in the economy.
The unemployment rate in the latest report by the statistics agency stood at about 23 per cent, with population growth outstripping that figure at 2.6 per cent per annum.
Defying IMF and World Bank
The latest figures defy both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank projections, which said the country's economy was primed to grow at the rate of between 1.98 percent and 2.0 percent during the period.
With oil price showing positive growth momentum at the international oil market at an average of about $66.15 per barrel of sweet crude futures for January delivery on Friday, analysts say the future looks bright for the country's economy.
Other indices are that crude oil production capacity is currently at an average of about 1.94 million barrels per day, while the exchange rate of the Naira to the dollar remains flat at about N361 as a result of the continued intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the market.
Details of the latest GDP numbers showed that during the last quarter of last year, aggregate nominal GDP stood at N35.2 trillion, which is higher than N31.3 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2017, a nominal growth rate of 12.65 percent.
For 2018, the report said nominal GDP was recorded about N127.76 trillion, representing a nominal growth rate of 12.36 percent when compared to N113.7trillion in 2017.
Further details from the report showed average daily oil production stood at about 1.91 million barrels per day, from about 1.95 million BPD recorded in the same quarter of 2017, and 1.94million BPD in the third quarter of 2018.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) resolution to cut members production by 800,000 barrels per day took effect since January 1 this year, observers say Nigeria will not be impacted negatively, with new production fields already coming on stream.
The Egina Offshore oil field came into production last year with an average output of about 200,000 barrels per day, to move Nigeria closer to its projected daily oil output capacity of 2.3 million barrels in the 2019 budget.
Regardless, the latest GDP report showed the oil sector recorded a negative real GDP growth rate of -1.62 percent (year-on-year), a decline of about -12.81 percent points relative to the growth rate in the corresponding quarter of 2017.
In the non-oil sector, the report the sector grew by about 2.70 percent in real terms during the period, which is about 1.25 percent points higher than the growth rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017, and 0.38 percent points higher than the growth rate recorded in the previous quarter in 2018.
The performance of key sectors of the economy showed varied growth levels. The agricultural sector showed annual GDP growth of about 14.27 percent, higher than 11.29 percent recorded in 2017
The sector contributed about 23.08 percent to nominal GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018, which is higher than the corresponding period in 2017 of about 21.93 percent.
The report said the mining and quarrying sector contributed about 6.83 percent to overall GDP in the fourth quarter of 2018, lower than its contribution in the corresponding period in 2017, which recorded about 8.50 percent as well as about 10.55 percent in the preceding quarter.
The manufacturing sector contribution to nominal GDP, the report said, stood at about 10.11 percent in the quarter, which is higher than its contribution in the corresponding period of 2017 (8.53 percent ) and third quarter of 2018 (10.01 percent).
The sector covers about 13 activities, namely oil refining; cement; food, beverages and tobacco; textile, apparel, and footwear; wood and wood products; pulp paper and paper products; chemical and pharmaceutical products; non-metallic products, plastic and rubber products; electrical and electronic, basic metal and iron and steel; motor vehicles and assembly; and other manufacturing.
The Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply contributed about 0.93 percent; construction sector 5.03 percent; trade about 17.24 percent; accommodation and food services 1.02 percent; transportation and Storage sector 9.48 percent, and the Information and Communications sector 10.23 percent.