Following the acute and spiraling drop in the price of oil, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said Nigeria had suddenly become a poor country.
This disclosure was brought to light by the President, at the State House, while playing host to the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, and United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, in Abuja.
Buhari, however, stated that the prudent manner in which his administration had been handling the nation’s resources had made it impossible for Nigerians to know of the severe shortage in the country.
He said, “It has been a very difficult year for Nigeria. Before we came to office, petroleum sold for about $100 per barrel. Then it crashed to $37, and now oscillates between $40 and $45 per barrel.
“Suddenly, we’re a poor country, but commitment to transparency and accountability is not making people know that there is severe shortage.”
The colossal appraisal from the President on the State of the Nation came barely a day after South Africa dethroned Nigeria in the title of Africa’s largest economy.
According to IMF data, a recalculation using current exchange rates put South Africa on top because the rand has strengthened against the dollar.
Nigeria’s currency has fallen sharply since a peg to the dollar was dropped.
Nigeria rebased its economy in 2014 to include previously uncounted industries like telecoms, information technology, music, online sales, airlines, and film production.
Most countries do rebasing, updating the measure of the size of the economy, at least every three years or so, but Nigeria had not updated the components in its GDP base year since 1990.