Rebased Nigerian GDP Could Make The Country Africa’s No. 1 Economy

Rebased Nigerian GDP Could Make The Country Africa’s No. 1 Economy

The proposed rebasing of Nigeria’s gross domestic product is no guaranty that the economy will expand, according to a VenturesAfrica report.

World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Africa Development Bank, and others plan to produce a current and accurate Nigerian GDP figure, said Yemi Kale, the country’s statistician-general.

The proposed GDP rebasing will help correct Nigeria’s fiscal planning and economic policies which have consistently hinged on an obsolete GDP baseline since 1990, the report said.

The outcome of the exercise could be difficult to determine as it could either reveal a contraction or expansion of Nigeria’s economy, said Scott Rogers, IMF senior resident representative.

Nigerians can be very touchy when it comes to the performance of their economy, according to analysis in AllAfrica. “In its effort to project an image of Nigeria as the leading heavyweight on the continent, despite its huge and seemingly growing insecurity problems, the Nigerian government is not taking any negative statements about its economic growth lying down,” the analyst said.

Nigeria is one of African Development Bank’s biggest shareholders, but the government cried foul over the bank’s assessment that the proportion Nigerians living below the national poverty line increased from 65.5 percent in 1996 to 69 percent in 2010.

The GDP rebasing will help Africa’s second-largest economy plan and measure development better, VenturesAfrica reports.

“We are trying to update the current farm price and quantity structures used in the calculation of our GDP estimates to come out with more up-to-date figures,” Kale said at a one-day sensitization workshop on Nigeria’s GDP rebasing.

According to reports, Nigeria is poised bypass South Africa as Africa’s largest economy after the exercise. The Nigerian government claims its economy is growing faster than any other on the continent and that it remains the No. 1 destination for foreign direct investment – higher than South Africa, AllAfrica reports.

African Development Bank said growth rates are higher in places like Libya (11.6 percent), Sierra Leone (9.6 percent), Chad (9.5 percent), Côte d’Ivoire (9.3 percent), the Democratic Republic of Congo (8.8 percent) and Ghana (8.4 percent). “Nigeria’s growth rate for 2012 is expected to be 6.9 percent, which is not bad at all…” AllAfrica reports.

A tentative rebasing estimate could be provided in December, the report said.