Statistician General of the Federation, Yemi Kale has said Nigerian economy will be out of recession in 2018, if the country avoids facing further recovery hitches.
Mr Kale said in an interview with the Economic Confidential in Abuja, that “If all prices do not collapse including Niger Delta crisis, by 2018 we would have recovered.”
Speaking on the economic situation currently bedevilling the nation, Mr Kale, a doctor, said “It was an extremely difficult period and we all felt it. I will say that most of the indicators suggest that we are coming out of it.
“We have not come out of it yet. As if the worst has already happened and it’s a low process of recovery. Now there is what we call technical recovery as different from the recovery Nigerians would prefer.
“When you tell somebody, the economy is coming out of recession, they would say what do you mean. After all prices are still high. Coming out of recession means positive growth. And your positive growth can be plus zero point one (+0.1). That does not mean everything is fine. It technically means you are no longer in negative again.”
The NBS boss further posited that the fact that you are no longer in negative does not translate to be buoyant, stressing that there is going to be a gradual process of recovery as things are improving.
“At least all the indicators are suggesting things are getting better. People always make this mistake when we say inflation is slowing down. Slowing down of Inflation does not mean prices are coming down. Inflation by definition is always a rise in price.
“All we are saying is that increase is not as much as before. Before it went up by 100%, but this time it went up by 50%. Having double digit inflation figure is still huge and a problem. The fact that it went down from 18% to 17% and now to 16% shows improvement. But I can tell you 16% is not good but a huge problem,” he said.
According to him, “If the trend continues, by the end of the year things should have normalized and by 2018 Nigerians would now see the benefit of the recovery. “If all prices do not collapse including Niger Delta crisis, by 2018 we would have recovered fully.”
He told the magazine that the year 2016 was extremely difficult for the nation. “I have to speak frankly as I have always done in the past. The economy has been slowing down since 2014.
“Anybody that has been following the numbers should know that the economy was slowing down. From six it went to five then to four, then to three and went to two before it became negative.
“The fact that the economy was slowing down did not mean it went from six to zero NO. It was gradual. If you have paying attention to data, you would have known that problem was looming. Since it was an election year, people did not pay that rapped attention. And so 2016 was horrible as we went through a lot of hell. We had an economy in my opinion that is dysfunctional”.
He likened the economy to a house built on three foundations, but two of the foundations are shaky and weak.
“You have an oil sector which is one pillar, a non-oil sector dependent on oil, which is the second pillar, and we have a non-oil sector not dependent on oil, like agriculture, which is the third pillar. Two pillars are directly dependent on oil. So when oil decides to collapse, two legs will be gone and remaining one pillar. And that is the problem we had,” he said.