- Published: 14th Jun, 2023
The end of the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration will doubtless come with a lot of reflection. In what state did the outgoing administration leave the country? Better or worse? It is not uncommon for departing rulers to claim that the economic condition of the country improved under them, regardless of what the numbers say. That is to be expected. However, we prefer to parse through the data and review it with nuance and context.
Mustard Insight’s purview covers specific sectors which we feel are the major growth areas African countries should focus on going forward. We will attempt to examine the administration’s performance in these sectors, in terms of contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), and if possible, policy. We will use the metrics from the first quarter (Q1) of 2015, the last fiscal period before the onset of the Buhari administration, and we will have the first quarter of 2023 as the final period.
In terms of real GDP, Agriculture and its sub-sectors – Crop Production, Livestock, Forestry, and Fishing – contributed 19.79% to GDP. By Q1 2023, the sector contributed 21.66% to the nation’s GDP. The sector’s contribution reached as high as 26.46% in Q4 2022. Crop Production has emerged as the highest contributing sub-sector to the nation’s economy, which might mark a return to Nigeria’s agricultural roots.
There is the argument that the sector grew under the administration. Policy instruments such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) improved access to capital for smallholder farmers, with loans disbursed through recognised Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) such as Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and Microfinance Banks (MFBs).
Available data which Mustard Insights have tracked show significant increases in agricultural commodities such as rice and maize production. The accuracy of data might vary from different sources, but maize production showed clear growth, rising from 10.1 million metric tonnes (MMT) in 2015 to a 2019-high of 12.7 MMT. External shocks such as the Covid-19 epidemic, climate change effects, and insecurity will eventually affect production values. Despite all of these, the average annual maize production stood at 11.7 MMT, clearly exceeding the averages of previous administrations.
However, the contribution of Agriculture to the nation’s GDP, while it increased marginally during the administration, was weaker than that of previous administrations. The average contribution of the sector under President Buhari was 24.4%, higher than the oil-heavy administration of President Goodluck Jonathan at 21.8%, but less than President Obasanjo’s 27.5%.
The sector was greatly affected by inflation, with food prices steadily rising throughout the length of the administration. Issues with insecurity and natural disasters such as flooding affected much of the nation’s food belt. A lot of the sector’s issues can also be traced to the energy industry, with high prices of gasoline and diesel, valuable inputs in mechanized agriculture.
Fertilizer shortages were also common during the administration, despite attempts to boost production. The administration reached partnerships with Morocco for the supply of phosphate, in a bid to improve fertiliser blending capacity within the country. Within the last eight years, fertilizer blending plants in the country have increased from eight to over fifty. However, the country relies heavily on importation for potash, a key ingredient in fertilizer production. During the Russia-Ukraine War, potash supply was heavily disrupted as Nigeria imports the most from Russia.
Other issues ranged from poor road networks, which make it difficult to transport food around the country and insufficient infrastructure for storage, to low adoption of modern farming practices. Corruption also remained an issue, as smallholder farmers often spoke about a lack of access to funding, much of which the federal government claimed to have disbursed.
The solid minerals sector saw steady growth during the tenure of the Buhari-led government. The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) agency in its 2020 Solid Minerals Industry report revealed a favourable five-year trend in solid minerals' contribution to the country’s GDP. An ₦87.61 billion contribution to GDP was recorded in 2016. By 2020, the sector’s contribution had increased to ₦1.49 trillion though only representing 0.24 per cent of the country’s total GDP.
Significant improvements are still very necessary in the sector if the country is to achieve the goal of a 5 per cent GDP contribution by 2025, as specified in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved Solid Mineral Development roadmap. The Buhari-led administration must still be commended for having recognized the significant potential in the solid minerals sector and seeking ways to reduce dependence on oil revenue, attainable through diversification of Nigeria’s economy. This would warrant a strong focus on the mining industry.
Buhari’s leadership resulted in the undertaking of many initiatives with the aim of meeting the goals outlined in the roadmap. A notable move was initiating reviews towards amending the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act. The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, made this announcement during the 5th Annual Mining Week held in November 2021.
In April of this year, it was reported that the FEC had approved a bill which would see the replacement of the outdated 2007 Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, a move that many would probably perceive to be a parting gift from the Buhari administration, as it concludes its governance this month.
With the increased interest and recognition for Nigerian music as well as Nollywood’s increasing creativity and diversity, it’s safe to say that Nigeria’s entertainment industry has come a long way since the beginning of the Buhari-led administration. But how exactly has this growth been reflected in the country’s economy?
During the years of Buhari’s administration, the entertainment sector made significant contributions to the overall GDP. Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria puts the figures at roughly ₦219.23 billion in terms of contributions from motion pictures, sound recording and music production to the country’s GDP in the first quarter of 2015.
The arts, entertainment, and recreation industry also contributed another ₦38.82 billion during this period. Compared with recorded observations for the first quarter of 2023, CBN data shows that the contributions to GDP from these same key players in the entertainment industry went up by ₦16.6 billion and ₦15.87 billion respectively.
These figures show clearly that between Q1 2015 and Q1 2023, Buhari’s regime witnessed an increase in the entertainment sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s overall GDP. However, there is little to be said in terms of actual government influence on this growth. At the beginning of the Buhari-led administration in 2015, several promises were made to improve the entertainment sector including adequate investments to develop Nollywood to a globally competitive level, and efforts to combat the high piracy level that threatened to sabotage the industry.
However, much of the achievements that the Nigerian entertainment industry has achieved from the beginning to the end of Buhari’s regime are thanks to funding from internal players and the private sector, as well as the social media boom in Nigeria. All in all, the entertainment industry in Nigeria appears to be in a good place, or as good as it can be, with or without the contribution of Buhari’s just concluded tenure.
The outgoing administration came into office with a significant housing deficit. The nation’s burgeoning population has put a lot of strain on the real estate industry, with private developers being unable to build quickly enough to meet demand. The country’s real estate sector contributed 6.76% of real GDP in the first quarter of 2015. By Q1 2023, was contributing 5.31%. In monetary terms, the sector’s worth declined from ₦1.08 trillion to ₦943.07 billion.
The construction sub-sector, worth ₦749.76 billion in Q1 2023 according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, was worth ₦697.37 billion in the corresponding period from 2015, showing a slight expansion. However, this expansion quickly becomes a contraction when the major economic plague of the administration is accounted for: inflation. The price of cement experienced a near-100 per cent increase under the Buhari administration, doubtless contributing to difficulties in the completion of building projects.
Market forces have seen the cost of accommodation rise greatly in major cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt. These rent increases, along with the rising cost of construction, have led to a growing housing deficit. The government attempted to alleviate this deficit by creating programs such as the National Housing Programme (NHP), and the National Social Housing, a part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP). The NHP was able to complete only 2,665 of the planned 6,000 housing projects around the country, while the latter could only deliver 19,478 housing units of the 300,000 homes planned. Another initiative, the Family Homes Funds (FHF) was launched in 2017 with the aim of investing ₦1.3 trillion in 500,000 homes. According to Business Day, only about 11,700 homes have been built.
A major challenge which affects the Real Estate sector more than it does Construction is the difficulty most Nigerians face in acquiring mortgages. Mortgage interest rates have consistently been in the 15-20 per cent range, a rate which is higher than the average Nigerian can afford. Hence, private developers are less keen on developing new units, worried about affordability. No point in building 10,000 two-bedroom units if no one can afford to live in them.
While advancements have been made in the renewable energy sector, much of that has been due to the interests and activities of private individuals. There has been increased adoption of small-scale solar power amongst homes that can afford it, along with increased use of inverters and batteries.
On the national level, the administration launched an energy transition plan in August 2022, with the aim of integrating renewable energy on a large scale, along with energy efficiency and conservation. Whether the incoming administration sticks with the transition plan is something only time would tell. What we can see though, is little steps being taken. One of those steps is the 10MW Challawa Kano Solar Power Project. Despite the small scale, this is the first project of its kind in Nigeria and provides a baseline foundation which the next administration can build upon.
The administration can claim some larger victories in this sector. Most of those successes came from hydropower. The completion of the 700MW Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant will increase the nation’s generating capacity significantly, with operations set to begin in Q2 2023. On a smaller scale, there was also the launch and commissioning of the 40MW Kashimbila Hydropower Station in Taraba State.
What the administration sought to do was to create an environment for bolstering investment in renewables, with the use of incentive-laden policies. The National Electric Power Policy (NEPP), and the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy (NREEEP) have the following policy incentives:
- Free Custom Duties for two (2) years on the importation of equipment and materials used in renewables and energy efficiency projects;
- Allows for project developers to obtain soft loans and special low-interest loans from the Renewable Electricity Fund for renewable energy supply and energy efficiency projects;
- Advocates for the Government to ensure that an appropriate economic instrument is put in place to allow generators of renewables to obtain preferred pricing and rates as they sell;
- Tax incentives to manufacturers of renewable energy and energy-efficient equipment and their accessories. Incentives include (i) a five-year tax holiday for manufacturers from the date of commencement of manufacturing; (ii) a five-year tax holiday on dividend incomes from investments in domestic renewable energy sources.