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Nigeria recorded 89.22 per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2013, making it the largest economy in Africa and 26th in the world. Nigeria’s nominal Gross Domestic Product, GDP, now stands at $509.9 billion, making the nation’s economy the largest in Africa and the 26th in the world, according to the preliminary results of the rebasing exercise of the federal government.

The position was previously occupied by South Africa. South Africa’s GDP for 2013 stands at $370.3bn GDP for 2013; Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, stated this on Sunday in Abuja at a press conference on “Rebasing/Re-benchmarking of Nigeria’s GDP.’’

The rebasing has ensured that other sectors of the economy hitherto not reflected are now fully accounted for to ascertain the real size and the performance indices of the economy. The ICT sector categorised under the Service sector with other sub-sectors “has more than doubled to over 50 per cent from 23 per cent in the old series.” This is not surprising. This sector since 2001 following its deregulation and introduction of liberalization has witnessed huge offshore investment in excess of $350 billion. From less than 350, 000 active telephone lines, it now has over 124 million active subscribers lines. Growth has also been phenomenal in entertainment service sector where with telecommunications sector, Nigeria has continental dominance.

“We did not set out to become the biggest economy in Africa. We set out to measure how much the economy has changed. And that is the outcome. Becoming the largest economy on the continent is a positive development, but it is not destination. The knowledge derived will help us make better policies to grow the economy and create jobs for young Nigerians,’’ the minister said.

According to her, Nigerians have worked hard to make our economy the largest in Africa, and they should be proud of the feat, but it is also a challenge and an opportunity. She said the results of the rebasing would not make the challenges of poverty and unemployment disappear overnight, adding that it was imperative to policy making.

Okonjo-Iweala said GDP estimates would also help Nigerians, particularly policy makers to have better understanding of the structure and changes of the economy and serve as better tools to grow the economy.

The  Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr Yemi Kale, said the results of the rebasing exercise revealed that the nominal GDP for Nigeria was larger than previously estimated. “The rebasing exercise reveals that the nominal GDP in 2010 was reversed from N33.9 trillion to N54.2 trillion. That is an increase of 59.5 per cent.

“It was reversed from N34.4 trillion in 2011 to N63.3 trillion. That is an increase of 69.1 per cent, and from N40.5 trillion to N71.1 trillion in 2012. That is an increase of 75.58 per cent.

“We estimated that in 2013, it was reversed from N42.3 trillion to N80.3 trillion, an increase of 89.22 per cent.’’ The statistician-general said the results also revealed that in 2010, agriculture share of GDP was estimated at 23.96 per cent, compared with 30.03 per cent in the old series.

“Industry has dropped from 46.08 per cent to 25.81 per cent and service has more than doubled to over 50 per cent from 23 per cent in the old series.

“We can see that the structure of Nigerian economy has changed significantly,’’ he said.

Kale said the results of the rebasing exercise provided a more accurate picture of the structure of the Nigerian economy relative to a base year of 2010, rather than the base year of 1990 that was currently in use.

The rebasing of the national account series (which includes the GDP) is the process of replacing an old base year with a new and more recent base year. The base year provides the reference point to which future values of the GDP are compared.

Additional Report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

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