By Rene Vollgraaff
Nigeria’s economic growth quickened in the third quarter as the oil industry’s contraction eased and agricultural output increased.
Gross domestic product rose 6.81 percent on an annual basis, the fastest pace this year, compared with 6.18 percent in the second quarter, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said in an e-mailed statement today.
While disruptions to Nigerian oil exports continued in Africa’s second-largest economy, daily average crude oil production rose to 2.26 million barrels from 2.11 million barrels in the previous quarter. Crude output declined from 2.52 million barrels a day in the third quarter of 2012.
“Supply disruptions continue to hamper output in the oil sector,” the statistics bureau said.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 160 million people, depends on crude exports for about 80 percent of government revenue and the industry accounts for about 12.5 percent of gross domestic product.
Criminal gangs tapping oil from pipelines for illegal sale have posed the biggest threat to output since a government amnesty in 2009 reduced armed attacks led by rebels fighting for greater control of the region’s resources.
Three “major” pipelines began pumping again between July and September, which were “welcome developments for crude production going forward,” the statistics bureau said.
The oil and natural gas industry shrank 0.53 percent in the third quarter, compared with a 1.15 percent slump in the second quarter, while agricultural output rose 5.08 percent from 4.52 percent. Investments to boost dry-season farming, supply seeds and fertilizers directly to farmers and provide mechanized equipment at affordable prices helped to increase farming production, according to the statistics bureau.
Non-oil industry expansion was 7.95 percent in the third quarter from 7.36 percent between April and June, it said.
The naira gained 0.4 percent to 158.75 per dollar by 10:29 a.m. in Abjua, heading for its biggest advance in six weeks.
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