A financial expert, Mr. Johnson Chukwu has said that the agricultural sector will still largely drive the Nigerian economy this year.
Chukwu who made this declaration in an interview with our correspondent in Lagos recently explained that 2019 being an election, little attention would be paid to other economic sectors or those policies that would actually trigger or stimulate other critical sectors to sustainable growth.
He added that most of the policies that Nigerians were going to hear this year would be largely politically induced.
“In effect, I think the agricultural sector which is propelled even by the weather will still remain the dominant sector in the economy. Good a thing we are already seeing indications that there will be good rain this year. So, one should expect that with good rain, one should have good harvest”, he said.
Chukwu who is also the Managing Director of Cowry Assets Management Limited however stated that “there is also the risk that you could also see flooding as we saw last year in case of excessive rainfall”.
“So, in the absence of any flooding and any natural disruption of the agricultural sector, we want to believe that the agricultural sector should, given that a particular year is driven by weather condition because we do not have so much of mechanized agriculture, will still be dominant sector in the economy and will still drive the direction of the performance of the economy”.
He also pointed out that the other sector that may contribute largely to the economy this year is the oil and gas sector saying,”if the government is able to drive improvement in crude production and should crude price remain above $60, then, we should also see a positive performance in the oil and gas sector which accounts for about 88% of the GDP”.
He continued,” The trade sector will be dependent on what happened in the election, the political environment and the oil price. Should the election go successfully and the oil price remained strong, traders will have access to foreign exchange and changing activities will improve”.
On the farmers/ herders crisis, he said, “The farmers/herdsmen crisis was among those factors that weakened the performance of the agricultural sector last year. We saw the displacement of farmers that cut across the entire northern region starting from the northeast which has suffered consistent attacks from the Boko Haram terrorists, the conflict between the herders and farmers/ settlers in the north central. We are now witnessing a lot of banditry in the North West that is also contributing to weak agricultural production.
“So, one is hoping that after the elections, the government will sit down and find solutions to this internal insecurity. But should they not be able to do that, then, we should expect that that will continue to have adverse effect on agricultural production”.
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