ABUJA, May 23 (Reuters) - Nigeria's economy grew 3.11% in the first quarter, slower than in the previous three months due to a fall in crude production, an underperformance which hit the rest of the economy, the statistics office said on Monday.
It was the sixth consecutive quarter of growth, with the non-oil sector helping the economy bounce back from a severe recession caused by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gross domestic product had grown by 3.98% in the fourth quarter of 2021. In the first three months of last year, the growth rate was 0.51%.
"After the recession experienced by the country in 2020 occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has been on the path of growth," the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
It said financials, communication, trade and healthcare were among the fastest growing sectors.
However, oil refining, crude petroleum and natural gas, road transport, quarrying and other minerals were among the most sluggish.
The oil sector shrank by 26.04% in the first quarter, compared with an 8.06% contraction the previous quarter. Crude production fell to 1.49 million barrels per day in the first quarter from 1.50 million barrels in the previous three months.
Frequent vandalism and illegal refining in the oil-producing Niger Delta region have kept the sector under pressure. Nigeria has struggled to meet its production targets, partly missing out on the effects of the global surge in oil prices.
Nigeria's economy rose to 17.35 trillion naira ($42 billion) in the three months to March, compared with 16.83 trillion naira in the same quarter of 2021, the statistics office said.
($1 = 415.00 naira)
Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Estelle Shirbon and Jan Harvey