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Nigeria economy ‘not out of the woods yet,’ Emefiele, sees GDP at 3% in 2021

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Nigerian economy is projected to grow between 2.5 percent and 3 percent this year, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

But the regulatory bank governor warned that the country’s economy is not out of the woods yet, considering the challenges of managing covid-19.

The projection is coming after an easing of lockdown measures and increased vaccinations boosted business, including international and local travel.

Africa’s largest economy had contracted in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, though in the fourth quarter it managed to exit its recession, the second since 2016.

Growth has now increased for three consecutive quarters to June 30. The economy expanded by 5.01 percent in the second quarter of this year.

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“With continued improvements in the economy, I am optimistic… we would end the year with an annual GDP growth of between 2.5–3.0 percent,” Emefiele said at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) banking conference.

Nigeria had been grappling with low growth before the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a recession and created large financing gaps, including dollar shortages and inflation.

Amid a third wave of infections, Nigeria has started a second phase of inoculating its 200 million citizens after it received a donation of 4 million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the U.S. government.

“Notwithstanding the positive news … I would admit that growth remains fragile.

“We are not out of the woods yet, given the challenges in combating the COVID-19 pandemic,” Emefiele said.

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