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Published On: Tue, Aug 1st, 2017

Nigeria gradually exiting recession –Prof. Aigbokhan

The President of the Nigerian Economic Society, Prof. Ben Aigbokhan, has said that the country was not yet out of recession, contrary to statement credited to the Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun.
Aigbokhan, an economist, said that Nigeria is gradually exiting recession with the growing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and slight improvement in job creation.
The minister had recently said that Nigeria was already out of recession to an extent.
The economist said “we are moving out of recession but we are not completely out. There is slight improvement in job creation and output has increased too.
“When we talk of output, that is what we used for growth in GDP, it is projected to grow by one per cent.
“Before it was negative, 2nd and 3rd quarter 2016. It is now projected that it will grow by one per cent and that is a sign that output is growing more than what it used to be,” he said.
The economist emphasised that the output and the employment rate had been growing but slowly.
He, however, said jobs were mostly created in the private sector because some private companies that were importing before, now produce locally.
“The fact that they (some private companies) were able to conduct interview for employees is a sign that they have seen silver lying at the end of tunnel.
“What it means is that they have seen a ray of hope. A few will be like that too,” he said.
Nigeria’s economy entered recession in August 2016, after the country witnessed negative growth in the first and two quarters.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the second quarter 2016 GDP declined by -2.06 per cent.
Annual inflation rose to 17.1 per cent in July 2016, from 16.5 per cent in June 2016, and food inflation rose to 15.8 per cent from 15.3.
Meanwhile, a former Chairman of the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Mr Duro Kuteyi, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to implement an intervention for cassava farmers, towards enhancing food production. Kuteyi made the appeal in Lagos.
He said that the intervention to enhance cassava production would be similar to the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme on rice production, and should reduce the cost of Garri and other by-products of cassava.
It would be recalled that cassava is one of the targeted agricultural commodities listed under the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).The ABP aims to create an economic linkage between smallholder farmers and reputable large-scale processors, with a view to increasing agricultural output and significantly improving the capacity utilisation of processors.
“The present challenges of farmers leaving cassava cultivation for rice because of the CBN’s intervention on rice would stop, if the CBN kick starts the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme for cassava.
“This would alleviate the hardships faced by Nigerians because of the price of garri that has risen astronomically across the country and also enhance our self-sufficiency in most of the cassava by-products.
“Cassava is an industrial crop, which can boost the production of the industrial sector, create employment and enhance the incomes of small-holder farmers.
“Its cultivation, production and processing could replace oil and generate foreign exchange for the country, if fully harnessed.
“However, checks at most farms showed that cassava is scarce and not readily available for domestic or industrial uses,” Kuteyi said.
According to Kuteyi, government should provide adequate infrastructural facilities and high yield seeds for farmers to encourage bumper production of cassava and increase income for them.
“Research has produced over 50 varieties of cassava that would assist farmers to harvest 40-50 tonnes per hectare, as against the 10 tonnes per hectare which is presently obtainable,” Kuteyi said.
Statistics from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) reveals that Nigeria is a leading producer of cassava, with about 40 million metric tonnes yearly.

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