Nigeria's Agric Growth since 1999 Lowest under Buhari Despite Huge Investments


Alt: = "Nigeria agric growth from 1999 to 2020 chart"

Data from Nigerian Bureau of Statistics show that Nigeria’s agricultural output was lowest between 2015 and 2020, despite investments made by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. 

Despite much talked about huge investment in the agriculture and bolder commitment to infrastructure, the sector has grown at the weakest rate under the Buhari administration since the return of democracy in 1999, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and Statisense, a data consulting firm.

The sector grew at an average of 10.48 percent between 2016 and 2020, the lowest since 1999.

By comparison using 5 years intervals from 1999 to 2020, the sector grew by  averag 18.79 percent between 2011 and 2015 under former President Goodluck Jonathan, while between 2006 and 2010, which  covers the tail end of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and late Musa Yar’ Adua tnures, the sector recorded an average growth of 27.6 percent.

Furthermore, the data show that between 2001 and 2005, under the Obasanjo’s administration the sector had all time average growth of 89.41 percent thereafter nosedived to 17 percent between 1995 and 2000, 10.7 percent from 1991 to 1995, 16 percent between 1986 and 1990, 15.5 percent between 1981 and 1985, etc.

But in terms of the agricultural sector’s contribution to the GDP, the Buhari`s administration has so far done better than only the Jonathan administration, according to an analysis by Statisense.

Under Buhari’s administration, agric sector contributed an average of 25.06 percent to the country’s GDP between 2016 - 2020, while under Jonathan’s administration between 2011 and 2015; the sector contributed only an average of 23.03 percent.

Muda Yusuf, the immediate past director-general of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who spoke with BusinessDay Newspaper said:

 “Beyond what the government has done, there is still a lot more to do. The issue of insecurity has to be addressed, transportation cost also needs to be addressed.

 “It is not just about growing crops, it is about dealing with the entire value chain, we need to strengthen the value chain.

"The government needs to prioritise the use of technology and pay less focus of crude farm implements," Yusuf noted.

“We cannot be using hoes and cutlasses to feed over 200 million people. It is not just about feeding, it is also about exporting. Agriculture is supposed to be one of our areas of comparative advantage,” Yusuf pointed out.

During an interview with Channels Television, which was aired on Wednesday, President Buhari failed to engage questions about Nigeria’s woeful economic indicators, but rather insisted that what can bring Nigerians out of poverty is for Nigerians to return to the farm.

Responding to apt data reeled out concerning Nigeria’s soaring debt stock, spiralling inflation and rising unemployment, President Buhari said, “Well, I am not sure how correct your calculations are, but all I know is that we have to allow people to have access to the farm. We just have to go back to the land.”

He also asked educated Nigerian youths to learn how to survive on their own without waiting for the government to provide jobs for them.

According to Ken Ife, an economic policy analyst for the World Bank and UNIDO, a lot still needs to be done, especially in meeting local demands for consumer goods both as a lifestyle essential and as an important driver of economic activity.

“The consumer goods sector, like others, is having its fair share of pandemic induced challenges including forex scarcity, rising inflation and import bottlenecks,” he said.

“These, combined with a shrinking disposable income, have made many foreign products, which hitherto posed a fierce competition to local players, out of reach for many consumers,” he stated.

According to report by BusinessDay, Despite boasting about massive infrastructural allocations, Buhari`s government has talked more about infrastructure spending but little on actual expenditure.

The report read: “For instance, the government budgeted N1.58 trillion and N2.17 trillion for capital expenditure in 2016 and 2017, but actual money released was N173 billion and N1.43 trillion.

“In 2018, the government budgeted N2.8 trillion but actual money released was N1.6 trillion, while in 2019 the government budgeted N2 trillion for capital expenditure but actual money released was N1.17 trillion as of Q3’ 2019.

“In 2020, the government budgeted N2.4 trillion but actual money released was N1.74 trillion.

“In 2021, the government’s capital expenditure, including that of 10 Government-Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and projects tied to loans, was put at N3.85 trillion.

"According to the public presentation of 2022 FGN Approved Budget, “As at November 2021, N3.40 trillion had been expended for capital. Out this, N2.98 trillion represents 83 percent of the provision for MDAs’ capital, N369.9 billion for Multi-lateral / Bilateral Project-tied loans, and N49.52 billion as GOEs capital expenditure."

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