Economy still in doldrums, Statistics Bureau report indicates

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Federal Government officials may be giving themselves a pat on the back in the agriculture sector, but the National Bureau of Statistics indicates that there is cause for worry.

Data obtained by Morning Mail from the agency on Tuesday shows that agriculture contributed 18.00 percent to the nation’s nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of this year.

“This figure is lower than the rates recorded for the first and fourth quarters of 2016 at 19.19% and 21.35% respectively,” the bureau stated.

The story is not markedly different in the oil sector, the nation’s economic mainstay, according to the government agency.

It states: “The oil sector contributed 8.90% of total real GDP in (first quarter) Q1 2017, down from figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2016 and up from the preceding quarter, where it contributed 10.02% and 6.75% respectively.”

The bureau added: “For the first time on record, the sector to import the largest amount of capital was Servicing, which accounted for $130.98 million, or 20.24% of the total.”

It also gave a depressing report on the country’s trading activities, saying that the nominal year-on-year growth rate in the first quarter of this year is 9.58%.

“This indicates a drop by 3.92% points and 4.99% points when compared to the first and fourth quarters of 2016 respectively,” it added

In nominal terms, it said, other services grew by 14.95% (year-on-year) in Q1 2017.

Even here, the growth rate of 20.21 percent is less than what obtained in the same quarter of the previous year. It is also “lower than the growth rate of 21.60 % in (the fourth quarter of last year) Q4 2016 by 5.26% points and 6.65% points respectively.”

Similarly, nominal growth in the education sector in the first  quarter of 2017 was 13.92% (year-on-year), down by 2.05 % points from the growth of 15.96% reported in the corresponding quarter of 2016. It is lower by 1.13 % points when compared to the fourth quarter 2016.

It is not all bad news, however, according to the Bureau. It stated: “Nominal GDP growth of Manufacturing in the first Quarter of 2017 was recorded at 16.63% (year-on-year).”

That is “19.61 % points higher than figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2016 (-2.98%).”

It is also “13.08% points higher than the preceding quarter figure of 3.56%.”

The Bureau put the Quarter-on-Quarter growth of the sector at –0.79%.

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