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Ex-President Jonathan’s Claims On Nigeria’s FDI And Inflation Rate Are Misleading

Photo Credit: Leadership Newspapers 3 mins read

CLAIMS: Former President Goodluck Jonathan said that:

  • Nigeria was the number one destination for foreign direct investment under his tenure
  • Inflationary pressure was kept at a single digit


EVIDENCE: For CLAIM 1, a report by UNCTAD shows that Nigeria was not the no. 1 destination for FDI throughout Jonathan’s tenure, and for CLAIM 2, CBN’s records show that inflationary pressure was not a single digit throughout his tenure!


Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, in singing the praises of the achievements as president has claimed that he oversaw an economy that consistently grew.

Mr Jonathan professed this in an interview with Premium Times featured on the platform’s special publication launched June 12 to mark Nigeria’s 20th year of democratic rule.

Nigeria was the number one destination for foreign direct investment under my tenure. We were rated the biggest economy in Africa. We transformed the agricultural sector and brought the nation closer towards food self-sufficiency,” he was quoted to have said in the interview.

Our currency was stable and inflationary pressure was kept at single digit. We may not have been comfortable with the exchange rate of less than N200 to the dollar at that time but I can tell you that the economy was stable.

[For the purposes of this fact-check, we will limit the claims to his assertions on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and inflationary pressure].

So, was Nigeria the number one destination of foreign direct investment and inflationary pressure kept at one digit under the ex-president’s watch?


Mr Jonathan was president for five years, precisely from May 5, 2010 to May 29, 2015, a run of years that added his one-term tenure of four years to his one year completion of former president Umaru Yar’Adua’s tenure, after the former died in office.

Hence, the scope of this claim will be from 2010 to 2015.

The World Investment Report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), published in 2018, details Nigeria’s FDI from 2012 to 2017.

FDI is the amount of foreign investment a country receives in a given year. 

According to the report, Nigeria topped all other African countries in Mr Jonathan’s first two years with respective earnings of $8.84 and $7.07 billion. A drop to $5.5 and $4.65 billion in his subsequent two years in charge blew Nigeria off the top spot to the third spot in Africa. By his last year in office, the nation’s FDI had shrunk to $3.14 billion, placing Nigeria as Africa’s 7th destination for FDI.

Equating this to the quondam President’s description of Nigeria during his tenure, we can infer that the statesman held back some truths in praising himself.

It was only in his first two years in office that Nigeria was no. 1! Subsequent years saw Nigeria drop down the pecking order with equivalent drop in the amount earned in the years under review.

This claim about Nigeria’s foreign investment earnings by a principal of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is not isolated. PDP’s presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections, Mr Atiku Abubakar, had, in the buildup to the elections, also bore similar thought. Dubawa showed how the thought is not well-guided here.


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) keeps record of the country’s monthly inflation rate. In the Bank’s spreadsheet that archives the country’s inflation rate from 2003 to April 2019, Nigeria did not keep single digit in all of 2011—2015. 

Inflationary pressure is the weighted average of prices for different goods.

Weighting the average sum of each shows that, in 2011 and 2012, Nigeria had inflation rates of 10.85% and 12.24% — both double digits.

2013—2015 were years the country kept single digit: 8.52%, 8.06% and 9.01% in that order.

Judging from this, inflation rate under Mr Jonathan was not kept at a single figure. Only in his last three years as president was inflation rate kept at a single digit — in his first two years, inflation rate in Nigeria hit double digits; figures that are considered high for any country.


During Mr Jonathan’s time as president, Nigeria ranked top in terms of FDI twice. In his remaining three years, Nigeria was respectively third, twice and seventh. Hence, saying Nigeria was the “number one destination of foreign direct investment under my tenure” is not true.

By the same token, inflation rate was not kept at a single digit throughout the former president’s tenure. In his first two years, it was double digits. To say otherwise, as he did, is to mislead others.

Yusuf Akinpelu loves stories and he tells them for DUBAWA, having tested them against available facts. He is a graduate of Statistics from the University of Ibadan, where he won the 2019 Youth Digest Campus Journalism Award of the Best News Writer, and 2018 UCJUI Award for Campus Journalist of the year. Occasionally, he writes satires. He has interest in human rights and believes in the Nigerian Project.

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