LAGOS, Feb 12 — Nigeria's economy grew 1.9 per cent in 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics said today, just days from an election in which the pace of growth is a campaign issue.
The NBS said gross domestic product (GDP) also rose by 2.38 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the same quarter in 2017. Growth accelerated from the 1.81 per cent expansion in the third quarter.
The government had targeted two percent growth for last year to boost the fragile economy, which only emerged in 2017 from its first recession in over two decades, triggered by low crude prices and militant attacks on energy facilities.
Oil sales make up two-thirds of government revenue.
According to Bloomberg, the figures could help President Muhammadu Buhari to convince voters the economy is finally recovering more forcefully from the 2016 recession.
But economist Mark Bohlund said: "Buhari's four-year term has still seen the weakest growth in the living memory of a large share of the electorate."
That could favour his main challenger, Atiku Abubakar, he added.
Buhari's administration is targeting three percent growth in 2019, which is still only just above the 2.6 percent expansion rate of Nigeria's population.
The 76-year-old former military ruler came to power in 2015 on a pledge to turn the economy around. He is facing a stiff challenge from businessman and former vice president Atiku Abubakar. — AFP