“Nigeria has suddenly become a poor country,” acknowledged the President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday at a conference attended by representatives of the United Nations in Abuja.
“Before I took on my duties, oil was selling for about $100 a barrel. Then it slumped to 37 dollars, it now oscillates between 40 and 45 dollars a barrel, ” defended the Nigerian President to explain this descent into hell of the Nigerian economy, relays Jeune Afrique.
Just that, with the fall in oil prices, inflation, insecurity in the South, humanitarian crisis in the north, electricity shortage, in fifteen months, Nigeria’s economy has collapsed to the point of losing its first place in Africa, as well as the leading oil exporter. The West African giant, which derives 70% of its revenue from oil production, was replaced from first African economy by South Africa, according to the latest calculations of GDP in US Dollars by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday.
Yet both countries are in difficulties. “But Nigeria is very slow to embark on the path of growth, I do not think she can regain her top spot soon,” says a financial analyst specializing in West Africa for Teneo Holdings Intelligence.
Just a few months ago, Nigeria was losing the top spot of black gold exporter on the continent for the benefit of her local rival. According to figures released Friday by OPEC, Nigeria produces 1.5 million barrels per day – against 1.78 million for Angola – and shows a fall of 21.5% compared to January (or a shortfall of 41,300 barrels per day), particularly because of the insurrections of rebel groups in the Delta oil region.
“The Delta Avengers, a new armed group with separatist tendencies, regularly blow up oil facilities since the beginning of the year and promised to bring the country to its knees until their demands are heard,” reports Jeune Afrique.
Agriculture is the only sector to record growth, while the banking sector collapses, followed by services and industry, in decline since the beginning of the year. The government is already implementing measures to meet the slope. The first is the corporate taxation. Thus, in the streets of Lagos, advertisements bloom, reminding individuals that “not paying taxes is a crime.” According to Oxfam, Nigeria lost the equivalent of 12% of its GDP into illicit channels. A record for the continent.