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“Nigeria will exit recession in first quarter of 2021”, says Finance Minister

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The current recession, which the Nigerian economy recently slid into, will be short-lived, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has said.

Ahmed said this on Monday at the ongoing 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

She said the country would emerge from the recession in the fourth quarter of this year or by the first quarter of 2021.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, entered its second recession in five years in the third quarter of this year as the Gross Domestic Product fell for the second consecutive quarter.

The GDP dropped by 3.62 per cent in Q 3 and 6. 10 per cent in Q2, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The finance minister said the COVID -19 -induced recession followed the pattern across the world where many countries had entered an economic recession.

“Let me remind us that before the impact of COVID- 19, the Nigerian economy was experiencing sustained growth, which had been improving quarter by quarter until the second quarter of 2020 when the impact of the COVID -19 was felt,” she said.

Ahmed said other countries also in recession, including the United Kingdom and the United States, recorded much deeper contraction than that of Nigeria.

“Nigeria is not alone in this, but I will say that Nigeria has outperformed all of these economies in terms of the record of a negative growth.”

According to her, South Africa, which recorded a decline of -50 per cent compared to Nigeria’s – 6. 1 per cent in Q2, will also record a deeper negative growth in Q 3.

Ahmed said, “ While the economy has entered into recession in the third quarter, the trend of the growth suggests that this will be a short-lived recession, and indeed by the fourth or, at worst, the first quarter of 2021, the country will exit recession.

“Our expectation of a quick exit, which will be historically fast, is anchored on the several complementary fiscal, real sector and monetary interventions that have been proactively introduced by government to forestall a far worse decline of the economy and alleviate the negative consequences of the pandemic.”

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