Jim Ovia projects growth for Nigeria but data suggest otherwise

Two years after Nigeria exited the recession, Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc believes the country is on a growth trajectory due to Nigeria’s ease of doing business index and the inflation rate.

Speaking at the Deloitte in Dialogue Nigeria Economic Outlook 2019, held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, Ovia commended the Federal Government and its economic team for pulling Nigeria through the recession and restoring growth within the country.

In his address to the participants of the event, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed and her counterpart in Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, as well as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enalamah and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele were commended for their role in the revamping of the economy.

While he praised them for Nigeria’s remarkable improvement on the ease of doing business index, Ovia suggested that the goal now should be single digit, which he believes will further improve the standing of Nigeria on the index.

“the target for the ease of doing business for nigeria in 2019 in terms of ranking, should be single digit.

“we are no longer in recession and we have been able to manage the rate of inflation. the outlook for the nation shows that we are now on a growth trajectory,” he said.

Nigeria’s ease of doing business performance

Despite Ovia’s praises for the economic team, Nairametrics understands Nigeria dropped a spot on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking for 2018, declining to 146 from 145 the country occupied since exiting recession in 2016.

Nigeria’s performance had improved in 2017 after the country climbed 24 places from its 169 position to 145 of the 190 countries tracked by the global financial institution.

Factors that boost Nigeria’s position in 2017

According to the World Bank, who tracked 314 reforms by 128 governments across the world, ease of doing business in Nigeria was enabled by the reduction of time needed to register a company at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and introducing an online platform to pay stamp duty – this reform applies to Kano and Lagos States.

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Spanner in the works

Ovia might have praised the Federal Government’s economic team for lifting Nigeria’s economy out of the recession, but Nigerians are not really out of it just yet, and the Brookings Institution, a Washington based economic research group, made this known in its report, ‘The start of a new poverty narrative.’

The report placed Nigeria ahead of India, as the world’s poverty capital, with the largest number of extremely poor, with about 86.9 million Nigerians living in abject poverty as of May 2018. It was disclosed that extreme poverty is growing by six people every minute in Nigeria.

Nairametrics learnt if Nigeria is unable to change its current trajectory, it will be home to 110 million people living in extreme poverty by the year 2030.

The Brookings Institution research also corroborates African Development Bank’s observation in February 2018, that 152 million Nigerians, representing almost 80 per cent of the country’s estimated 193.3 million population are allegedly living on less than $2 per day, that is, N724 per day.

Also, according to a Quartz Africa report, the human capital spending rate in Nigeria is the worst globally for the second year running. In the Commitment to Reducing Inequality (CRI) index compiled by Development Finance International (DFI) and Oxfam, Nigeria was ranked 157 out of 157 nations.

It should be noted that the CRI index ranks the commitment of national governments to reducing the gap between the rich and the poor citizens. the ranking is determined by three factors considered critical to reducing the gap; social spending, tax policies and labour rights.

So, Nigeria might be out of recession, but the citizens are yet to be impacted by the economic growth.

Source: Nairametrics

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