The All Progressives Congress has dismissed Nigeria’s rebased Gross Domestic Product as a public relations gimmick of the Federal Government.
The party, in a statement in Washington DC, United States by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government had by the rebased GDP only succeeded in ridiculing itself.
But the Federal Government insisted that the emergence of Nigeria as Africa’s largest economy would guarantee prosperous future for Nigerian youths
The APC noted in its statement that it was clear that the GDP rebasing was done after a World Bank report declared Nigeria as one of the countries with the largest population of poor people in the world.
The party said it was not surprised that the rebasing was government’s response to the World Bank classification.
It added, “The Federal Government has only succeeded in opening itself to ridicule. This is because if ever there was a clear play at oxymoron, this is it: The largest economy with the largest population of the poor; the largest economy with the largest population of the unemployed; the largest economy with the largest population of citizens living in darkness, and the largest economy with the worst infrastructure.”
The APC said there was too much poverty in the country, adding that the economic growth which the government had been trumpeting was not a result of deliberate policies.
It stated that government policies were expected to result in reduction in unemployment, increase in capacity utilisation by manufacturers and access to basic needs of life.
The APC said the government carried its joke too far by giving the impression that the emergence of the Nigerian economy as the largest in Africa was a function of the economic policies under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
It stated that it was a function of “re-jigging of figures calibrated to fool an unsuspecting public.”
The party said the government must begin to realise that it had fooled no one by rebasing the GDP and claiming that the Nigerian economy was Africa’s largest.
It noted that the government had succeeded, at least temporarily, in diverting attention from the worsening insecurity and the hopeless power situation in the land.
The statement read in part, ‘’The reactions of the economists and the business community within Nigeria as well as at the World Bank level to the rebasing hubbub have taken the sail out of the government’s wind and dampened its undue ecstasy over what is nothing but window dressing.
“For example, the business community has noted that while Nigeria, with the rebased GDP, is now ranked number 26 with regard to the size of the economy in 2013, it is ranked 147 in the Ease of Doing Business Report of the World Bank, out of the 189 countries profiled.
“Even Sierra Leone and Liberia had better ranking. In the same vein, our ranking in the UNDP Human Development Index is 153 out of 210 countries. There is no better illustration of the disconnect between growth and development; between growth and quality of investment climate.”
The APC said the World Bank had made it clear that the living standards of the citizenry and the productivity level of companies were the key issues.
The party stated that investors in London, New York, Beijing or Tokyo were not necessarily looking at the GDP statistics, but how profitable their investments would be in a country.
It said, “President Jonathan and his shadow-chasing economic team should therefore quit wallowing in unnecessary chest-beating over the re-jigging of figures and the play on statistics and put their shoulders to the wheel to push our nation forward.”
But the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, in a statement in Abuja, said that Jonathan’s transformation agenda had returned Nigeria to the path of economic growth.
Maku, according to a statement by his Press Secretary, Mr. Joseph Mutah, made the remark when members of the Youth Solidarity Forum, Nasarawa State visited him in Abuja.
He said through the economic expansion, youth unemployment and under-development would be surmounted.
“In spite of all these crises, the President has managed to raise the Nigerian economy to be the number one in Africa, and in the world, we have moved from number 37 to number 26,” the minister boasted.
According to him, if Jonathan continues as the President, Nigeria is likely to be among the first 20 largest economies in 2020.
Maku said although the President had not declared interest in the 2015 presidential election, the successes witnessed under his leadership, were enough motivation for youths to support him.
He said, “This President is different. He wants this country to move. He wants development to occur and he is making progress; so I am appealing to you, please work hard to ensure that the President gets elected in 2015.
“He hasn’t said so. He has not come out to say I am contesting but we know that he is qualified to contest. We know that he is working for this nation more than any President in recent times.
“With everything that has happened so far in this country, I have no doubt that if the President can move Nigeria so fast in four years and made her the largest economy in Africa even in the midst of crisis imposed on him, then that President is the one that will carry this country to the next level and he is already doing so.”
Speaking earlier, the leader of the Youth Solidarity Forum, Rebecca Sunday, decried the current level of insecurity in Nasarawa State.
But the Presidency dismissed the APC comments, saying the party had become a global irritant with the manner at which it played politics with everything.
The Presidency, through the Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, regretted that rather than commending the government for rebasing the GDP after many years of lull, it was only interested in criticising it.
“For many years, the rebasing of the GDP has not been done in this country. This administration has just done that and instead for them to come and aid the government, they are playing politics as usual. APC is a global irritant,” it said.
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