Saturday, 23 December 2017

Oil fuels 9.3% 3rd quarter economic growth - GSS

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Adnan Adams Mohammed

After some delay, the Ghana Statistical Service has released the third quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures.

For the third quarter this year, the economy grew by 9.3% according to provisional figures.

The figure represents a 0.3 percent increment from what was recorded in the previous quarter, and is 4.7 percent higher than the 4.6 percent recorded in the third quarter of last year.

However, the Statistical Service stated that the oil sector contributed largely to the growth of the economy in the quarter.

In sectoral terms, the industrial sector outperformed the two other sectors—agriculture and services – growing by 16.6 percent, whereas agriculture and services grew by 10 and 5.7 percent respectively.

However, the services sector maintained its position as largest contributor to the economy with 53.4 percent – followed by industry with 23.6 percent and 23 percent for the agriculture sector.

Commenting on what accounted for this quarter’s growth of 9.3 percent, Acting Government Statistician Baah Wadieh said: “This can be attributed mainly to the high growth rate recorded in the following sub-sectors: fishing grew by 57 percent during the quarter. Then we also have mining and quarrying, which grew by 40.8 percent, and out of this oil and gas grew by 72.2 percent. We also recorded substantial growth rates in the health and social works sector, of about 24 percent.

The growth of 72.2% in the oil sector was due to the fact that the country witnessed a fairly stable oil production from the oilfields.  Commercial production from the new TEN field  contributed massively to oil production as compared to same period last year.

According to the statistics, between July and September 2017, the value of all goods and services produced in the country, including oil; amounted to 56.1 billion. This is up from the 45.4 billion cedis recorded in the same period in 2016.

The value of all goods and services produced without oil amounted to GHC53.1 billion, also representing an upward growth compared to the GHC44.4 billion recorded in the same period in 2016.

From the figures it shows that Ghana’s economy continues to be led by the oil sector for the past years since commercial oil production started.

This is a development, some economists have warned could have dire implications for the country’s future if not checked.

Meanwhile, a further breakdown shows that industry comprising mining and quarrying, water and sewerage as well as manufacturing, grew highest between July and September this year.

The sector grew by 16.6 percent.

Even though the mining and quarrying subsector’s growth decreased to 40.8 percent, it still led industry’s growth.

The Acting Government Statistician, Mr. Baah Wadieh explained the role of oil in the growth.

“We had oil and gas growing by 72.2% and that was due mainly to the increase in production from the TEN and Sankofa oilfields and as a result, we recorded the high growth rate,” he said.

Already, institutions like the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) have urged government to be tough in claiming its due from oil producers who flout the nation’s rules.

In ACEP’s view, the move should provide a fall back plan as the oil resources could get exhausted by the next eight years.

Again, the agricultural sector grew by 10 percent between July and August this year, up from the 3.4 percent growth recorded in the previous quarter spanning April to June.

This growth has largely been triggered by the significant growth in fishing subsector.

This comes despite concerns of a dwindling fish industry due to low fish catch,a situation the Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister, Elizabeth Afoley Quaye had equally lamented in an interview earlier this year.

But according to the Statistical Service, the country recorded a rather positive outlook between July and September this year.

“According to the figures that we received from the Ministry of Fisheries, there was expansion in the actual volume catch of fish during this year and this is seasonal when it is traced from the previous figures that they send us. It is observed that around the third quarter, there is increased catch,” the Acting Government Statistician, Baah Wadieh explained.

Interestingly, the services sector this time around recorded the least growth of 5.7%.

For instance, the finance and insurance subsector recorded a negative growth of 4.1 percent, compared to the 1.3 percent recorded in the same period last year.

It is unclear what led to this but some have attributed the development to the non-performing loans among commercial banks which continue to impact on their operations.