Nigeria economy grows with bump in oil production

Abuja

Nigeria’s economy grew slower than expected in the first quarter, official statistics showed, with an expansion in oil production offset by a sputtering non-oil sector. The economy grew by 1.9 percent year-on-year in the three months to March, compared with growth of 2.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, said Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics. Nigeria’s oil production—which generates the bulk of the country’s government revenue—is up to 2.0 million barrels per day, the highest level in over a year, according to the statistics bureau. But growth in the non-oil sector was a meagre 0.8 percent despite slowing inflation and higher oil prices, surprising analysts who predicted stronger growth. “It’s a bit of a depressing result,” said John Ashbourne of London-based Capital Economics to AFP. “Consumer spending is incredibly weak. Nigerian consumers are holding back either because incomes have fallen more than we thought or because people are worried about the future,” Ashbourne said. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has worked to try and pivot the economy away from its dependence on oil, a Herculean task in a country that is overreliant on the sector.—AFP

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