Some experts in the construction sector on Monday urged the Federal Government to tackle the challenges facing manufacturers to grow the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that boosting the productive capacity of the economy was the major way to enhance the nation’s GDP.
According to them, manufacturers are the major drivers of the economic growth, and if they can operate optimally, they will create more jobs thereby boosting the GDP.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that the nation’s GDP grew by 1.95 per cent year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter of 2018.
According to NBS, the nation recorded some growth in the oil sector during the period, about 9.61 per cent of the total, with the non-oil sector accounting for the rest.
In real terms, the non-oil sector contributed 90.39 per cent to the GDP, lower than 91.47 per cent recorded in the first quarter of 2017 and 92.65 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Compared to the preceding quarter, there was a decline of -0.16 per cent points from 2.11 per cent, NBS said.
Mr Chudi Ubosi, African President of the International Real Federation (FIABCI), said the Federal Government should focus more on diversification of the economy to properly harness the potential of the non-oil sectors.
Ubosi said boosting the productive capacity of the non-oil sectors would go a long way to increase the nation’s GDP.
According to him, the decrease in the contribution of the non-oil sector is as a result of the continuous increase in the price of crude oil in the international market.
“As a result of the increase in oil prices, activities and productivity of the non-oil sectors will be affected.
“So there is need for further diversification and encouragement of production in the non-oil sector,” Ubosi said.
Mr Kenneth Nduka, president of the Nigeria Institute of Building (NIOB), urged the government to tackle all the challenges that hinder local production of goods and services across the country.
Nduka said increase in local production would lead to a corresponding increase in the nation’s GDP, stressing that the government should be more responsive to the needs of the citizens.
“There is no magic that will strengthen the naira and ensure availability of dollars when the country has been import-dependent.
“The manufacturers are suffering from their inability to source dollars for raw materials due to the high exchange rate, and this causes setback in business activities.
“The way forward is for the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for the manufacturers to operate effectively,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Olaide Afolabi, president of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), said insecurity and political instability were responsible for the decline in the contribution of the non-oil sector to GDP.
Afolabi said economic instability and security challenges had discouraged many local and foreign investors from investing in Nigeria, and that it invariably affected the nation’s GDP.
He noted that an enabling environment and stable policy would enable foreign investors to bring into the economy hard currencies and lower the exchange rate.