Nigeria’s GDP Records 3.11% Growth In First Quarter

Nigerian GDP grew 3.11% in the first quarter, slower than in the previous quarter as a fall in oil production hit the rest of the economy, the national statistics office said on Monday ahead of a central bank interest rate decision on Tuesday.

It was the sixth consecutive quarter of growth, with non-oil sectors helping Nigeria bounce back from a severe recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The full-year GDP figure for 2021 showed the fastest growth in seven years.

Gross domestic product grew by 3.98% in the fourth quarter of 2021. In the first three months of last year, the growth rate was 0.51%.

After the recession experienced by the country in 2020 occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has been on the path of growth,” the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

It said non-oil sectors such as financials, communication, trade and healthcare were among the fastest growing.

However, oil refining, crude petroleum and natural gas, road transport, quarrying and other minerals were lagging.

The naira , hit a record low of 609 against the dollar on the black market, where it is freely traded, as the GDP data was announced.

The oil sector shrank by 26.04% in the first quarter, compared with an 8.06% contraction the previous quarter. Crude production fell to 1.49 million barrels per day in the first quarter from 1.50 million barrels in the previous three months.

Frequent vandalism and illegal refining in the oil-producing Niger Delta region have kept the sector under pressure. Nigeria has struggled to meet its production targets, partly missing out on the effects of the global surge in oil prices.

The weak growth could prompt the central bank to keep its dovish stance at a policy meeting on Tuesday despite double-digit inflation, analysts say.

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