Nigeria’s annual economic growth rate dropped to 2.51% in the second quarter, according to figures released on Friday, hampered by a drop in oil production despite a series of measures aimed at revitalizing Africa’s largest economy by new President Bola Tinubu.
The report, which represents the country’s 11th consecutive quarter of growth, is the first to be released after Tinubu embarked on the country’s most daring changes in decades to try to raise output, which has been slow for several years.
“This growth rate is lower than the 3.54% recorded in the second quarter of 2022 and may be attributed to the challenging economic conditions being experienced,” the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
Tinubu has scrapped a popular but costly petrol subsidy and lifted foreign exchange trading restrictions. But the action has worsened inflation currently in double-digits, fuelling anger and frustration for a population grappling with a cost of living crisis.
Tinubu at his inauguration in May vowed to expand the economy by at least 6% a year, lift barriers to investment, create jobs and unify the exchange rate, while also tackling rampant insecurity.
He inherited a struggling economy with record debt, shortages of foreign exchange and fuel, a weak naira currency, inflation at a near two-decade high, skeletal power supplies and falling oil production due to crude theft and underinvestment.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, recorded average daily oil output (NGOIL=ECI) of 1.22 million barrels per day (mbpd) in the second quarter, down from the daily average of 1.43 mbpd registered in the same quarter of 2022.
The dominant oil sector which accounts for the bulk of government revenue and 90% of foreign-exchange reserves, contracted 13.43%.
The NBS said second-quarter growth was driven by the services sector, which grew 4.42% year on year.