FG omits shipping sector in Rebased GDP

The contribution of Nigeria’s shipping sector is conspicuously missing from the rebased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Africa’s largest economy.

Nigeria’s rebased GDP figures for 2013 released on Sunday afternoon by the Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, showed an 89 percent jump in the estimated size of its economy.

The new rebased data showed that the size of the Nigerian economy is now estimated at N80.3 trillion ($510 billion) for 2013.

The new figures showed that Nigeria has surpassed South Africa as the largest economy in Africa after overhauling its GDP data for the first time in two decades.

Rebasing/re-benchmarking of the national account series (GDP) is the process of replacing an old base year to compile volume measures of GDP with a new and more recent base year or price structure.

Until now, the GDP estimates for Nigeria have been based on a base year of 1990, which means that current GDP (say for example 2013 GDP) are expressed in terms of prices of goods and services in 1990.

Hitherto, the agric sector used to be the dominant contributor to Nigeria’s GDP but that has been diluted as other sectors such as finance services, construction and entertainment have braced up their contribution to the economy.

The 2013 rebased figures showed the agric sector contributing 21.97 percent or N17.625 trillion ($112.26 billion) of the total N80.22 trillion ($510 billion). This compares with N14.71 trillion ($93.7 billion) in the old non-rebased estimates for 2013.

The manufacturing sector of the economy contributed 6.81 percent to the new GDP data equivalent to N5.47 trillion ($34.8 billion) out of the total 2013 GDP rebased estimate of N80.22 trillion ($510 billion). This compares with N4.74 trillion ($30.2 billion) in the 2012 GDP figures.

The real estate sector contributed 8.01 percent to the Nigerian economy equivalent to N6.43 trillion ($40.9 billion) of the total rebased GDP estimate of N80.22 trillion ($510 billion).

Crude petroleum and natural gas which comes under the mining and quarrying sector contributed 14.4 percent or N11.55 trillion ($73.56 billion) to the total 2013 rebased GDP.

The telecommunications and information services sector contributed 8.68 percent to the Nigerian economy equivalent to N6.97 trillion ($44.3 billion) out of the total rebased GDP estimate of N80.22 trillion ($510 billion). This compares with N364.4 billion ($2.3 billion) in the 2012 non-rebased GDP time series.

Telecommunications is the star performer in Nigeria’s rebased GDP figures.

Road sector contributed N619.14 billion to the economy representing 1.14 percent of the GDP; rail transport and pipeline sector N107.77 million or 0.00 percent while water transport, which could mean movement of goods and persons across the nation’s inland waterways, contributed N6.14 billion or 0.01 percent of the nation’s GDP.

The shipping sector has been consistently ignored in Nigeria’s past GDP figures. If captured, the sector’s contribution should cover activities such as port operation, indigenous shipping and inland water transportation.

In other climes, the contribution of the shipping (or maritime) sector is distinctly captured and stated. For example, in the United Kingdom, the maritime services sector made an estimated

£13.8 billion direct value-added contribution to GDP in 2012. This is equivalent to 0.9 percent of the UK economy.

Maritime industry operators have however consistently faulted President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for ignoring the development and contributions of the maritime industry to national development.

Chairman, Nigerian Shipowners Association (NISA), Chief Isaac Jolapamo while speaking at a public function in Lagos recently, said that government had failed to show enough commitment to issues concerning the sector.

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