With the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicating that Nigeria has officially exited recession following a 0.55 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second quarter of 2017, stakeholders in the maritime industry have criticized the report as mere political figures.

Based on the preliminary report for Q2 by the NBS, Nigeria’s economic recovery was driven principally by the performance on four fronts – oil, agriculture, manufacturing and trade.

Some stakeholders who spoke with Business and Maritime West Africa Tuesday on the NBS report described it as economic permutation hinged on political figures.

In his reaction, the former president of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Eugene Nweke, who described the statistics as office figures said: “If you relate it with the realities on the ground, there is a paradigm shift; it does not correlate at all. Every country must be involved in economic indices and projections trying to show efforts in revamping the economy.”

The president of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Awimero, bemoaned the decrease in the volume of cargo imported into the country owing to the unfavourable foreign exchange regime of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). He said that as far as the maritime industry is concerned, nothing has changed..

“The volume of cargo has been decreasing since the exchange rate crashed. These are all political figures. How many cargoes do you have in the ports when the bulk of the cargoes have been diverted to neighbouring countries due to inclement cargo clearance procedure.

“We don’t want to hear figures, let Nigerians have food on their table, employment should be increased and the economy should be re-jigged.

“As far as the maritime industry is concerned, nothing is working. It is not about increased cargo volume in the last quarter but addressing certain economic issues which are yet to be addressed.”

Awimero called on government to rejig its cabinet and bring experts to drive the economy.

In his opinion, the coordinator of Save Nigeria Freight Forwarders Importers and Exporters Coalition, Osita Chukwu said: “As far as I am concerned there is nothing like the country being out of recession. Where did they (NBS) get the figure from? Nigerians are suffering, the rate of unemployment is increasing daily. People are finding it difficult to feed. Therefore, all talk of exiting recession exist in the theoretical realm,” he said.

When BMWA surveyed some major trading areas in Lagos, including the international trade fair complex and Aspamda, report showed that activities were at low ebb as most of the traders confirmed that they are yet to experience the signs of exiting recession.