By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja
The Federal Government has admitted that even though the Nigerian economy has moved in the right trajectory for sometime now on a consistent basis, its impact on the lives of citizens is yet to fully manifest.
Accordingly, it assured that no effort will be spared to ensure that the inflation rate which is currently on a downward trend is brought much lower as government continues to work ways of reviving the economy.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, stated this at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after briefing the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on the latest performance figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Briefing newsmen on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting, he noted that the economy is making a lot of progress given its consistent good performance in recent times, saying, however, that whether the positive indicators have had the desired impact is another matter altogether.
The Minister cited the National Development Plan 2021-2025, and added that work on reviving the economy is a continues process even as he said he could not provide definite time line to reduce inflation to the level that will positively impact all Nigerians.
Answering questions, he said: “First, you say the figures that were given show that there is a positive trajectory in terms of the economy. I think first we need to understand what GDP itself means. It’s the totality of the value of goods and services, it’s an indication of what is happening in the economy,, when you are having more to spend, more transactions are going on.
“It means that the economy itself is growing and if it is declining, and you have such negative decline in two quarters, then we will say you are in a recession.
“And NBS has consistently given these figures, whether they are positive, or they are negative, and then we compare them either on month on month basis, or year on year basis.
“And then we also have what those figures are annually, which tend to show us or indicate whether we are making progress or not.
“What those numbers show is that there’s a steady progress that is being made. Whether it is far reaching enough, is a different ball game.
“And that’s why you see in the National Development Plan 2021 to 2025, we are looking for a growth rate of an average of 5%.
“We haven’t gotten there yet but it is beginning to move towards that trajectory.
“In terms of inflation, for about 17 months consecutively, you find that inflation rate was going up, but what we are beginning to see is that for eight consecutive months, there’s a steady decline.
“It is not so much of the heavy decline but there is consistency in that decline, both for headline and to the inflation.
“But in December, we noticed that there was a slight increase. Of course, you know what normally would happen at the end of the year when everybody’s chasing the few available goods.
“So the demand, of course, is much, much higher than supply. But the good news is that in January, there was also a decline. And we noticed that the food index increases was around price of bread and cereal. And then food products were classified as like potatoes, yam, and other tubers, soft drinks, oil fats and fruit.
“So, the economy is being worked on, it’s work in progress, I can’t give you a definitive date when inflation is going to be below 10%. But the fact that we say that there is inflation means that the prices are being worked on.”