CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele

By Mustapha Sumaila

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has predicted negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the country in the second quarter (Q2) 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic that had affected the economy.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, made the prediction while fielding questions from journalists after the Monetary Policy (MPC) meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

Emefiele explained that the reason was the fact that the Nigerian economy, just like the global economy, was shut down during the month of April, May substantially and to some extent also in June.

He said with this development, he was almost certain that growth in the second quarter would be negative.

He further stated that the unfortunate situation arising from the COVID-19 pandemic had led to health and economic crisis of unprecedented proportions.

According to him, the situation has affected the U.S, Europe, and China economies as well as developing countries.

“Luckily and pleasantly surprised, Nigeria first-quarter growth in 2020 came down from 2.5 percent from fourth-quarter 2019 to 1.87 percent.

“Understandably by the virtue of the fact, we began to really lock down our economy in the month of March because we were already seeing some interesting growth trajectory in the month of January and February following the recovery that we have made in 2019.

“So, we saw what I could call a somehow pleasant GDP of 1.87 percent” he added.

The governor noted Nigeria was part of the global economy and if the country was able to manage this impact as quickly as possible, and join others in getting out of the difficult situation, the better for the nation.

He, however, emphasized the need to work together towards achieving a vibrant economy.

“As we begin to see the easing of the lockdown, business begins to come back alive again, we all need to move very aggressively and fast to see that corporate activities are pushed to an extent where if we are lucky, third-quarter growth may come out positive.

“If this is achieved, Nigeria will return to a situation where we can say we are not into recession”.