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JUST IN: Nigeria’s economy shrinks by 6.10%


Nigeria’s economy contracted by 6.1% in the second quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, the statistics office said on Monday, with lockdowns in its two main cities and low oil prices taking their toll.

The West African country – Africa’s largest economy and the continent’s top oil producer – reported its first coronavirus case in late February. Lockdowns were imposed for just over a month in the commercial hub Lagos and the capital Abuja, ending in early May.

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“The decline was largely attributable to significantly lower levels of both domestic and international economic activity during the quarter, which resulted from nationwide shutdown efforts aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statistics office said in its report.

Crude oil production was 1.81 million barrels a day in the second quarter, compared with 1.98 in the same 2019 period.

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Nigeria’s economy was already grappling with sluggish growth before the pandemic in the wake of a 2016 recession. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it sees Nigeria’s GDP falling 5.4% this year, and the government expects the economy to shrink by as much as 8.9% in 2020.

Data released by the statistics office earlier this month showed the unemployment rate stood at 27.1% in the second quarter. Meanwhile, inflation rose for the 11th straight month in July, to 12.82% – its highest level in more than two years.

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The World Bank has warned that Nigeria faces a recession that will be “much more pronounced” than in 2016 – and potentially the nation’s worst financial crisis in four decades.