The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, said the size of nation’s Gross Domestic Product has shrunk from about $575 billion to about $354 billion.
Soludo said this at an economic talk shop, organised by the Vanguard newspapers.
The talk shop which had other panelists such as Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of Edo State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, also a former governor and Minister of Steel and Solid Minerals, Issa Aremu, the deputy president of the Nigerian Labour Congress was moderated by Mr. Fola Adeola, the founding managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank.The talk shop had the theme: “The Hard Facts to Rescue the Nigerian Economy,’’ on Friday in Lagos.
Soludo in his keynote speech said that the shrunk GDP was arrived at using the official exchange rate of N304 to the dollar.
In his estimation, the GDP is even much lower —$232 billion—, using the parallel market exchange rate..
“In the previous 16 years, Nigeria’s GDP more than doubled in US dollar terms.
“But in less than two years, depending on the exchange rate you use, we have more than reduced the value to less than 50 per cent of what we met, in less than two years, in US dollar terms.
“We would get out of recession any moment from now, with oil price increasing.
“But it would be a miracle if the government is able to return the GDP in US dollar terms back to the level it met it, even by 2023.”
He commended the Federal Government on the unveiling of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Soludo said that the ERGP could still be expanded on how the economic diversification can be actualised.
“But it would take all hands to be on the deck to be able to pull out.,” he said.
He said that the present government had tried in blocking loopholes and stopping insurgency but solving the foreign exchange volatilities had remained a challenge.
“To be fair, this government inherited a bad economy.
“The previous government had an unprecedented rate of debt accumulation, even at a time of unprecedented oil boom and was even depleting our foreign reserves instead of doubling the reserves.
“Insecurity, especially in the north-east was very high, and corruption was pervasive,” he added.