The Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, during its 21st Annual General Meeting, yesterday, gave an insight into why Nigeria experienced trade deficit of N290 billion in 2016, even as it projected that the economy will experience a Gross Domestic Product, GDP growth rate of 0.6 per cent.
Here are a few things that was highlighted at the event:
- The lower crude oil prices and inability of the country to finance its rising import bills in the face of plummeting non-oil export led Nigeria’s trade balance to a deficit of N290 billion while balance of payment deficit climbed to N1.8 trillion in the third quarter of 2016.
- Aside from the foreign exchange crisis, the inability of government to respond swiftly and appropriately to economic challenges worsened the situation.
- The delayed passage of the 2016 budget and cloudy policy direction increased the level of uncertainty in the business environment. This also resulted in a decline in foreign direct investments which closed below $1 billion in the year. Major economic sectors such as construction, manufacturing and oil and gas also contracted by six percent, four percent and 14 percent respectively in the year.
The NESG Chairman, Mr. Kyari Bukar, however expressed confidence that the year 2017 will witness GDP growth even as he prayed for sustained peace in the Niger Delta to guarantee improvement in government revenue which is crucial for payment of salaries and infrastructure development. He further noted that there is an important complementary role that the private sector needs to play in order for us to stem the tide of decline and all hands needs to be on deck.