Cash crunch delays Q2 GDP, July Inflation report

The economic lift that would come from the confirmation that Nigeria has exited recession will now have to wait a bit longer as the much awaited Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for the second quarter of 2017 has been postponed due to lack of funds to mobilise the required data, BusinessDay authoritatively gathered.
 
The report was scheduled to be released on August 23, 2017 as indicated in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data release calendar but has now been shifted by almost two weeks to September 4.
 
Also delayed by almost two weeks are the reports on the July 2017 inflation, price watch for food, petrol, diesel, kerosene, cooking gas, as well as well as transport fare which the NBS earlier indicated would be released on August 16. The reports will now be released on August 28, according to the data office.
 
The delays will impact negatively on businesses that normally rely on these figures for strategic planning and projections.
 
Nigeria is facing its toughest cash crunch in several years as it struggles with low revenues following a slump in oil prices, which have seen its revenues cut by more than 50 percent.
 
“Please note that due to challenges out of our control, July 2017 consumer price index or inflation report, as well as July 2017 food price watch, PMS price watch, diesel price watch, kerosene price watch, cooking gas price watch and transport fare watch which were earlier scheduled for release on August 16 2017 has been rescheduled to 28 august 2017,” the NBS noted in a mailed note to BusinessDay on Tuesday.
 
“Also please note second quarter (Q2) 2017 GDP by production approach scheduled for release 23 August 2017 has now been rescheduled to September 4, 2017.
 
“We apologize for any inconvenience caused,” it added in the short note, announcing the change in the release dates for those reports.
 
Economists are widely expecting the second quarter, 2017 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) numbers to show that the country has exited economic recession on account of strong performance in agriculture, manufacturing, telecoms and oil.
 
This is because these four out of the six largest contributors to the country’s GDP, are already showing strong performance.
 
The six sectors include agriculture, manufacturing, telecoms, trade, real estate and crude. Already, agriculture, manufacturing, telecoms and crude will likely continue to show strong performance, the economists believe.
 
The numbers are also to likely show that Real Estate and trade sectors (obviously because of high inflation and forex constraints, will likely continue in the negative but may not be strong enough to counter the positive gains in the other four sectors.
 
July inflation report is also expected to show prices of consumer goods moderated for the sixth consecutive month.
 
But the economic lift that is expected to come with the release of data  that would confirm that the country has exited recession will now have to wait.
 
A reliable NBS top official narrated to BusinessDay how it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to now conduct surveys due to lack of funds. He said it has been tough particularly, since beginning of the year as government continues to ration the little available resources, according to what it deems as top priority.
 
“It has been quite tough here since January. We have hardly received any funding and we just struggle to mobilise funds to collect data for the reports,” he lamented.
 
“But we have just received an approval that money should be released to us and not until that happens, we cannot effectively mobilize to the field. There is no magic.”
 
“We have been running this office practically with resources we privately sourced,” he added.
 
The government is now desperately reworking its mono-revenue structure through aggressive mobilization of taxes and an increasing focus on diversification of the economy.
 
BusinessDay has observed that most government offices in Abuja, especially the NBS, most of the time, do not have electricity to run their daily operations and cannot fund diesel to power the generators.
 
Source: Business Day

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