ABUJA – Nigeria’s GDP grew 3.11% in the first quarter, a slower-than-expected fall in oil production hitting the rest of the economy, the National Statistics Office said Monday ahead of the central bank’s interest rate decision on Tuesday.
This was the sixth consecutive quarter of growth, the non-oil sector has helped Nigeria recover from a severe recession caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. The 2021 full-year GDP figure showed the fastest growth in seven years.
Gross domestic product grew 3.98% in the fourth quarter of 2021. The growth rate in the first three months of last year was 0.51%.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), “the country is on the path to growth after the country faced a recession in 2020 due to the Cavid-19 epidemic.”
It says non-oil sectors such as finance, communications, trade and healthcare are the fastest growing.
However, oil refining, crude petroleum and natural gas, road transport, mining and other minerals were lagging behind.
Naira reached a record low of 609 against the dollar on the black market, where it traded freely, as per GDP data.
The oil sector fell 26.04% in the first quarter compared to a contraction of 8.06% in the previous quarter. Crude production fell to 1.49 million barrels per day in the first quarter from 1.50 million barrels in the previous three months.
Frequent vandalism and illegal refining in the oil-producing Niger Delta region have put the sector under pressure. Nigeria has struggled to meet its production targets, partly excluded from the effects of the global rise in oil prices.
Analysts say weak growth could persuade the central bank to maintain its dual position at a policy meeting on Tuesday, despite double-digit inflation.
($ 1 = 415.00 naira) (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Estelle Shirbon, Jan Harvey and Tomasz Janowski)