By Godwin Oritse & Godfrey Bivbere
MARITIME industry stakeholders have expressed concern over the steep decline in the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in the second quarter of 2020, Q2’20.
The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, had reported on Monday that the nation’s GDP which had recorded a slow-down in growth Year-on-Year, YoY, to 1.8 percent in the first quarter of the year, Q1’20, eventually crashed to -6.2 percent in Q2’20 on the heels of the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.
But speaking to Vanguard Maritime Report on the development, the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, said that the fall in the GDP was expected following the outbreak of the pandemic which affected virtually all other economies of the world.
However, he warned that cash will become scarce in view of the decline in the level of economic activities. He advised that government should work towards injecting cash into the economy.
He also advised government to begin to build infrastructure to make life bearable for Nigerians, as well as focus more on its export drive.
On the other hand the Chairman, Port Consultative Council, PCC, Otunba Kunle Folarin, has said that the drop will impact not only on the maritime industry but the entire transport sector.
Folarin said that before now the maritime sector had been affected by the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic because the sector was involved in an activity that cannot be operated from homes. He explained that the sector was not operating optimally before the lockdown, adding that COVID-19 worsened the situation because the link between the international space and domestic space in maritime issues has also been affected.
In his reaction, the President of National Association of Stevedoring Companies, NASC, Mr. Bolaji Sunmola, said he believed that the economy was heading towards a recession adding that Nigeria does not have the capacity to produce. He said: “From indices available, the economy is heading towards a recession, we have a situation whereby the capacity to produce is not there, and the capacity to buy is also not there. Do not forget the fact people are getting out a situation where the economy was almost locked down. Basically, this is going to affect spending power because the concentration will be on survival and not on things that are productive. So we are going to have production drop, employment issues and all that.
“This could be the trend until when the indices and figures are reversed in the next six or so months.”
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