Abuja – The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, has said the Federal Government will continue to pursue aggressively the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) to sustain economic growth.
Udoma said this in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr James Akpandem, in Abuja on Wednesday.
The minister was reacting to the Second Quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report, released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which showed that Nigeria had exited recession.
The minister said government would require the cooperation of all Nigerians to enhance the recovery rate and ensure the achievement of the objectives of the ERGP.
He said that the government would also work on improving the ease of doing business to attract more investments.
He, however, said the recovery of the economy from recession was an indication that various policies of government towards reflating the economy as set out in the ERGP, were yielding results.
The minister said that two major objectives were in focus when the ERGP was launched by the President early this year – to get the economy out of recession and then put it on the path of sustained inclusive and diversified growth.
“We are happy that people are beginning to see the results of the efforts we have been putting through in the last two years to get the economy back on track.
“Now that we have accomplished the first task, attention will now be on growing the economy as rapidly as we can.
“As the economy continues to grow, the people will feel the impact of the growth,’’ he said.
According to him, the major focus of government is to reflate the economy through spending in strategic sectors like infrastructure, agriculture, solid minerals to galvanise economic activities and empower the people.
He, however, said that effort had also been concentrated on increasing revenue generation to meet with the challenges of the economy.
Udoma said it was gratifying to note that the growth recorded was broad-based, as the non-oil sector showed improvements in the last two quarters.
“For instance, the agriculture sector continued to grow in 2017, recording a 3.01 per cent growth in the second quarter of 2017.’’
He also said that Industry recorded positive growth of 1.45 per cent during the same period while manufacturing, which had been recording negative growth also turned positive.
The minister said that the sector, which was negative for most parts of 2015 and throughout 2016, turned positive in the first quarter of 2017 and increased by 0.64 per cent in the second quarter.
The minister, however, said that it was still as much more work needed to be done to sustain the growth.
The Nigerian economy, the biggest in Africa, slipped into recession in 2016, but the NBS on Tuesday reported that it had exited recession.
The data released by NBS showed that the country’s GDP grew by 0.55 per cent (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2017.
It added that the recovery was driven principally by the performance of four main sectors of oil, agriculture, manufacturing and trade.
The bureau said the figure indicated that the economy was out of recession after five consecutive quarters of contraction since first quarter of 2016.