The recession in Nigeria, announced in July by finance minister Kemi Adeosun and confirmed when the National Bureau of Statistics subsequently published figures showing a 2.06% dip in economic growth, is indicative of the country’s vulnerability to the vagaries of oil.
When oil prices started to tumble in mid-2014, the government – its sights set on the following year’s elections – did not take steps to mitigate the economic impact. By early 2015, Brent crude oil was trading at $53 (£41) a barrel and growth was slipping fast.
The situation was compounded when Muhammadu Buhari, who won the presidential race after campaigning on the delivery of a robust economy, failed to act with the required speed. The early stages of his administration were fraught with delay in appointing ministers, stagnating public contracts and an inconsistent approach to the exchange rate that worsened the crisis, tipping the economy into recession.