Wait, what?: Presidency says the economy is “growing”

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The presidency said on Monday that there is a “momentum of growth of the economy which has begun to build up.” The claim was made by senior special assistant on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, in a chat with newsmen on Monday. It is unclear how the presidency arrived at that conclusion in the midst of a slump in economic growth not seen in several years.

Over the weekend, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released data showing that inflation rose to 16.5% in June 2016, its highest increase since the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. This is the fifth straight month in which that particular index has risen. The rise was attributed to an increase in food and energy prices.

Meanwhile the economy saw a negative growth of -0.36% in the first quarter of 2016. The unemployment rate rose to 12.1% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to 10.4% in the last quarter of 2015. An estimated 1.4 million people entered the labour market within that period, according to the NBS.

So where exactly did the presidency conjure a momentum of growth of the economy it alluded to in its statement on Monday? Nobody knows.

The presidency statement called on the national assembly to quickly allow the “operationalisation of the budgets” of some federal government agencies and corporations so that the so-called growth momentum can be sustained.

Shehu said that Pres. Buhari has “lived up to this commitment of accountability and transparency with the recent submission of the proposed budgets of CBN, NNPC, Nigerian Ports Authority and others.”

He said by responding positively to the demand of the National Assembly that MDA budgets be laid before it for scrutiny, a demand mostly ignored by past administrations, “President Buhari has indeed given a clear indication of his commitment to an open, transparent and people-oriented government for Nigerians.’’

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