Joe Brock Abuja
Nigeria’s economy was expected to grow at a speedy 6.75 percent this year, driven by progress in agriculture, banking and oil, while high inflation rates should ease slightly, data showed yesterday.
Both will add to the reputation of Africa’s top oil producer as a growing investment destination with a huge consumer market of 160 million people. Demand for its sovereign debt, for example, has soared since JPMorgan Chase added it to its emerging bond index last year.
The kidnapping by gunmen of a Briton, an Italian, a Greek and four Lebanese workers in Bauchi state on Sunday, however, underlined that there are risks to the investment outlook.
The National Bureau of Statistics forecast this year’s growth to be slightly faster than in 2012, 6.75 percent compared with 6.61 percent.
The bureau said gross domestic product (GDP) should expand by an average of 7.2 percent next year, 6.9 percent in 2015 and 6.6 percent in 2016, adding that the projections assumed no change to monetary policy, stable fuel prices and a stable external environment.
Investors have been pleased with the stability brought to monetary policy and the macroeconomy in recent months but they remain wary of the government’s tendency to squander its oil windfall on reckless spending. Plans later this year to rebase Nigeria’s GDP could push it close to the size of South Africa’s. – Reuters