Africa's biggest economy slips into recession as GDP contracts for second consecutive quarter, statistician general says.

Men count Nigerian naira banknotes at a livestock market in Abuja, Nigeria July 29, 2020.
Men count Nigerian naira banknotes at a livestock market in Abuja, Nigeria July 29, 2020. (Reuters)

Nigeria has slipped into a recession after its Gross Domestic Product (or GDP) contracted for the second consecutive quarter, according to data released by the statistician general.

"Q3 2020 Real GDP contracted for the second consecutive quarter by -3.62 percent," Yemi Kale said on Twitter on Saturday.

"Cumulative GDP for the first 9 months of 2020, therefore, stood at -2.48%," he added.

Oil-based economy

Africa's biggest economy was last in recession in 2016, its first in a generation, and emerged the following year.

But growth had been fragile and the coronavirus pandemic hit the economy hard, as did low oil prices. 

The continent's top oil exporter relies on crude sales for 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings.

The government had previously said it expected the economy to contract by as much as 8.9 percent this year in a worst-case scenario without stimulus.

READ MORE: Pandemic set to plunge sub-Saharan Africa into recession - IMF

Joblessness 

Oil companies have asked security services to tighten surveillance as violent anti-police brutality protests and the expected sacking of hundreds of workers worsen desperation in the region, industry sources told Reuters news agency.

Already unemployment is above 40 percent in Nigeria's energy regions and observers say further job losses could aggravate problems of pipeline tapping, illegal oil refining, and pirate attacks.

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Source: Reuters