Despite Rebasing, and huge GDP, My Transformation still work in progress—-Jonathan


President Goodluck Jonathan says he will not celebrate the rebasing of the nation's Gross Domestic Product which has seen Nigeria overtake South Africa as Africa's biggest economy.

Justifying his resolve not to celebrate what he describes as the new “accurate picture” of the Nigerian economy, the President notes that “too many” Nigerians are living in poverty.

Writing on his Facebook page on Monday, Jonathan adds that the feat achieved after the rebasing of the nation's GDP has yet to bring about “positive impact.”

According to Jonathan, his definition of the transformation which he promised Nigerians when he assumed office as President is still a “work-in-progress.”

Jonathan said, “Yesterday (Sunday) our Gross Domestic Product was rebased to give an accurate picture of where we are as a nation. I am glad to report to you that Nigeria is officially the largest economy in Africa with a Gross Domestic Product of $510bn which also places us as the 26th largest economy in the world.

“This feat is a collective achievement of all Nigerians particularly when you take into account the fact that our Per Capita Income had increased by over 60 per cent from $1091 in 2009 to $1700 in 2013, prior to the rebasing.

“While this calls for celebration, I personally cannot celebrate until all Nigerians can feel the positive impact of our growth. There are still too many of our citizens living in poverty. Regardless of our present challenges, our place as a nation at the table of greatness is assured.”

Jonathan's comment comes on the heels of the World Bank listing of Nigeria among the world's extremely poor countries.

“The fact is that two-thirds of the world's extreme poor are concentrated in just five countries: India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“If you add another five countries, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya, the total grows to 80 per cent of the extreme poor,” the President of the World Bank, Dr Jim Yong Kim , had said.

But some Nigerians allege that the decision of the Federal Government to rebase the economy is a “political move.”

According to them, rebasing the economy to reflect an healthy condition at a time when the general elections is just some months away calls for concern.

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Movement, Bashir Yusuf, writes on Twitter that no matter how hard the Federal Government tries, it can't use the revised data to make impoverished Nigerians “richer and better overnight.”

He states, “Rebasing of Nigeria's economy is a political move. The economy isn't getting better at all. Poverty, unemployment and corruption are on the rise. Besides, insecurity is high, capacity utilisation is low, power supply has declined, and infrastructure hasn't improved. Our economy can't improve overnight.

“I know election year is nigh but, no matter how hard you try, you can't use revised data and make a people richer and better overnight. This rebasing of GDP trick only goes to show what Bretton Woods economics has become. A silly act of data review has made Nigeria's economy grow.”

Corroborating Yusuf's position, a concerned Nigerian, Yaqnas Abdulnaseer, laments on Twitter that the Federal Government has been “growing more poverty.”

Describing the rebasing of the GDP as a jamboree, Abdulnaseer notes that the common man  is not feeling the impact as the growth of the economy has been lopsided for decades with the rich getting richer and the downtrodden getting poorer.

He tweets, “Rebasing the GDP is just an intelligent extrapolation to present a healthy thriving economy. We know better. It is good to rebase but the life of Nigerians equally require rebasing to reflect the reality of 2014 Nigeria.

“The rebasing is a gimmick to woo more Foreign Direct Investment into the country, but the reality is that we are growing more poverty. Taking stock of the current size of the Nigerian economy is to attract FDI.  It would not ultimately change the lives of common man.”

As many concerned Nigerians query the timing of the GDP rebasing, others say the working class citizens and not the Federal Government should take credit for any feat being recorded in the economy.

Arguing that he agrees that Nigeria has the biggest economy in Africa one Ola kokodinho says on Twitter that more would have achieved if the country had half of the infrastructure the citizens of South Africa enjoy.

“Nigerians are limitless, boundless; the desire to be successful boils is in us. Nigerians are big time hustlers, powering the biggest economy in Africa with generators, how much more we would achieve if power supply is stable,” he notes.

Copyright PUNCH.