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Concerns Arise as Nigeria’s GDP Growth Fails to Alleviate Economic Hardship for Citizens

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Amidst ongoing economic struggles, Nigeria saw a 3.46% growth in its Gross Domestic Product in the fourth quarter of 2023, raising concerns about the disconnect between this growth and the well-being of its citizens.

The National Bureau of Statistics reported that the country’s economy expanded by 3.46% year-on-year in real terms during Q4 2023, slightly lower than the 3.52% growth in Q4 2022 but higher than the 2.54% growth in Q3 2023.

This growth amounted to an estimated total value of N21.77 trillion for goods and services produced within Nigeria during that period.

However, despite this positive GDP growth, many Nigerians continue to face economic hardship, driven by rampant inflation and soaring living costs.

The lack of tangible impact on the ground has led to dissatisfaction among the populace in states like Lagos, Kano, and Anambra.

In January, the NBS reported a record high inflation rate of 29.90%, exacerbated by a staggering 35.42% food inflation rate.

This persistent inflation has severely eroded the purchasing power of Nigerians, prompting protests in various states like Niger, Kano, Kogi, Oyo, and Lagos against the challenging economic conditions.

The Nigeria Labour Congress plans to stage nationwide protests on February 27 and 28 in response to the prevailing hardship across the country.

Experts like Mazi Okechukwu Unegbu, a former president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, have noted the disparity between Nigeria’s GDP growth figures and the lived experiences of its citizens.

Unegbu emphasized that while a 3.46% GDP growth should ideally boost the economy, Nigeria continues to grapple with issues like rising unemployment, inflation, foreign exchange challenges, and other factors hindering true progress.

Similarly, Prof Godwin Oyedokun from Lead City University highlighted systemic issues such as inequality, corruption, governance shortcomings, overreliance on oil, and infrastructure deficits as key barriers preventing GDP growth from translating into better living standards for Nigerians.

To bridge this gap, Mr. Idakolo Gbolade, CEO of SD & D Capital Management, stressed the need for proactive government policies in sectors like agriculture, oil and gas, manufacturing, and small businesses to drive sustainable economic growth.

Gbolade called for urgent action to improve agricultural productivity, facilitate access to loans for businesses, particularly in manufacturing and SMEs, and prioritize internal food security to ensure that the benefits of economic growth reach the grassroots level.

He underscored the importance of aligning policy implementation with economic realities to create a meaningful impact on the lives of Nigerians.

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