COVID-19 deems growth prospects, as capital flows falls 31.2% to $5.9bn

Prospects of economic growth in 2020 is becoming like a mirage, with nearly are the sectors witnessing moderation in growth, due to the prevailing pandemic. Even, capital flows fell 31.2 per cent in the first quarter of the year, prodding analysts to see growth fall to -4.4 per cent by the end of the year.

Reprieve is also unlikely to come from foreign investments, as the uncertainty and risk brought by the pandemic have resulted in capital flight. In the first quarter of 2020, foreign capital flows fell 31.2 per cent Year-on-Year (Y-o-Y) to $5.9 billion.

In the face of these uncertainties, John Okoro, an economist said, the Federal Government (FG) should make available a stimulus that will spur growth after the COVID-19 experience.

Most of the sectors need intervention to survive this year. Growth in the agriculture sector weakened to 2.2 per cent Y-o-Y in the first quarter of 2020, compared to 2.3 per cent at the fourth quarter of 2019, the slowest in three-quarters.

This was driven mainly by slower growth in crop production at 2.4 per cent Y-o-Y, compared to 2.5 per cent at the fourth quarter of 2019 while the livestock sub-sector expanded at 0.6 per cent, against the -0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of  2019. Analysts say the weak  increase in the agriculture sector likely reflects persistent insecurity in Northern Nigeria.

In the manufacturing sector, growth tapered to 0.4 per cent Y-o-Y in first quarter of 2020, against the  1.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019) dragged by weakness across its major sub-sectors. However, growth in the cement sub-sector was higher than in the previous quarter at 1.7 per cent Y-o-Y (vs 1.1% in Q4:2019). The food, beverage and tobacco sub-sector weakened to 1.1 per cent Y-o-Y (vs 2.7 per cent  Q4:2019), the weakest since Q3:2017, while growth in the textile, apparel and footwear sub-sector was relatively flattish at 1.0 per cent Y-o-Y. The weak momentum in the sector is mainly due to sustained weakness in consumer spending.

The services sector also recorded slow-paced growth at 1.6 per cent Y-o-Y in Q1:2020 (vs 2.6 per cent in Q4:2019), the weakest in seven quarters. The telecommunications sector bucked the double-digit growth trend witnessed since Q2:2018, expanding slower by 9.7 per cent  Y-o-Y (vs 10.3 per cent Q4:2019).

UNI Agric Markurdi
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