On Tuesday, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) confirmed what we all suspected: Nigeria is in recession. The economy contracted by 2% in the second quarter, and unemployment is also on the rise. Many have lost their jobs in the formal sector as firms have cut staff or folded up altogether. Many of us know people who have been let go in all sectors, and hiring has slowed to a trickle.
Unemployment has risen for the seventh straight quarter, and is now 13.3%. For the first time since 2009, Nigeria’s service sector has shrunk by -1.25%. That sector had managed to keep growing in spite of the condition of the general economy, but it has now succumbed. It is a sector that employs a huge number of people, we must hope that this contraction is short. If not, many more jobs could be lost.
The positives are that Agriculture and solid mineral sectors have continued to grow, at 4.53% and 2.5% respectively, and their contribution to GDP has also increased. Hopefully, this continues.
Education, Electricity, Oil and Gas, Agriculture and Technology are critical issues that touch the life of every Nigerian fairly, either directly or indirectly.
And of course, the favour of Almighty God on Niger-Delta region for situating the oil in the Niger-Delta is for a purpose that must not be turned into a curse. Mortals can only delay the purpose but cannot definitely abort the purpose.
Let us make the best use of the “new digital economy” golden opportunity, beckoning for the umpteenth time on us, the coming generations will remain eternally grateful for not allowing the opportunity to slip by, evident to this is the visit by the Facebook Founder, Mark Zuckerberg to Nigeria.
The summary of this is that right now, the bad news still outweighs the good news, and this should not be allowed to continue for long. Nigeria has too many unemployed people to be in a recession, and even the current situation was avoidable if the Presidency had heeded initial good advice. That advice is being heeded now, albeit belatedly and unevenly, and it will take time for the situation to improve.