The Federal Government can only ignore at its peril the recent warning by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that Nigeria risks drifting back into recession if the economic downturn is not reversed quickly.

A Professor of Capital Market and the Head, Banking and Finance Department, Nasarawa State University, Uche Uwaleke, said, adding, “The CBN warning can only be ignored at the economy’s peril.”

CBN had at the September 2018 Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, said declining economic growth in the last two quarters was threatening Nigeria’s exit from recession.

Reading the communiqué to newsmen after the MPC meeting, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said, “The committee was concerned that the exit from recession may be under threat as the economy slowed to 1.95 and 1.50 per cent in Q1 and Q2 2018, respectively.”

The committee noted that the slowdown emanated from the oil sector, with strong linkages to employment and growth in other key sectors of the economy.

Commenting on the matter, Prof. Uwaleke said, “We have been through this road before. The events leading to the recent economic recession about which the CBN also issued warnings should serve as a lesson for the government.

“Only some months ago, soon after the recession, by mid-2017, the economy appeared set to embark on a journey of sustained positive economic growth, especially on the heels of oil price recovery. GDP growth rate headed North. External reserves grew and exchange rate stabilised. Inflation rate maintained a downward trend amid a bullish stock market. As a matter of fact, the Nigerian stock market was rated among the top three in 2017.”

However, he said, “Today, the table is turning for the worse, GDP growth plunged from 2.11 per cent in Q4 2017 to 1.95 per cent in Q1 2018 and further down to 1.5 per cent in Q2 2018. Worse still, the agricultural sector, which recorded relatively high growth rates in previous years, including the period of recession, was only able to grow by 1.19 per cent in Q2 2018.