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Nigeria: Opposition downplays Nigeria’s emergence as Africa’s largest economy

Nigeria’s main opposition party All Progressives Congress (APC) has downplayed the country’s emergence as Africa’s largest economy, following a rebased GDP, calling the development ”an orchestrated distraction and a mindless public relations gimmick.”

In a statement issued here Thursday and made available to PANA, APC said the economic indices on the ground do not support any chest-beating by Nigeria.

PANA recalls that on Sunday, Nigeria’s Chief Statistician Yemi Kale announced the rebasing of the GDP at US$509.9 billion, indicating that the size of Nigeria’s economy has displaced that of South Africa (US$370.3 billion) as the largest in Africa, in terms of GDP.

Reacting to the development, APC said since the rebasing came after the ”damning World Bank report which declared Nigeria as one of the countries harbouring the largest population of poor people in the world, there is no doubt that the rebasing noise is the government’s response to the classification”.

It said the Nigerian government had only succeeded in opening itself to ridicule, because ”if ever there was a clear play at oxymoron, this is it: The largest economy with the largest population of the poor, the largest economy with the largest population of unemployed, the largest economy with the largest population of citizens living in darkness, and the largest economy with the worst infrastructure.

”Simply put, there is too much poverty in the midst of plenty, and the so-called economic growth which the FG has been trumpeting with its dubious statistics is not a result of any deliberate government policies. Policies of government are expected to result in reduction in unemployment, increase in capacity utilization by manufacturers, increased access to basic needs of life (food, water, electricity, health care, education, healthy environment, etc), increase in transparency and accountability, etc. On the contrary, the country continues to slip down the ladder on all of these fronts.”

APC asked President Jonathan and his shadow-chasing economic team to ”quit wallowing in unnecessary chest-beating over the rejigging of figures and the play on statistics and put their shoulders to the wheel to push our nation forward”.

The rebasing and Nigeria’s emergence as Africa’s largest economy have also been downplayed by the World Bank and Nigeria’s foremost business group, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

While the World Bank said foreign investors were more interested in the returns that their investments would fetch in Nigeria, rather than the size of the economy, LCCI said there is the need for government to improve on the fiscal policy and address the high level of poverty in the country.


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