GDP growth increased from Shs5.54 trillion (revised in Q4 2010/2011) to Shs5.56 trillion during the June – September Q1 of 2011/2011.

Even with the current economic challenges, Uganda has registered moderate growth, according to Gross Domestic Product estimates released recently for the first quarter of 2011/12.

According to the Q1 estimates released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics recently, GDP growth increased from Shs5.54 trillion (revised in Q4 2010/2011) to Shs5.56 trillion during the June – September Q1 of 2011/2011.

The country has been grappling with a deteriorating economic environment characterised by high inflation, high interest rates, a depreciating shilling and general high commodity prices for the better part of 2011.

Dr Chris Ndatira Mukiza, the Ubos director in charge of macroeconomics statistics, attributed the performance to growth in agriculture, fishing and forestry, whose value increased from Shs716 billion to Shs771 billion during the period under review.

The surge in the sector’s performance was credited to favourable rains that led to increased harvests for cash crops notably coffee, tobacco and flowers and increases in food crops mainly matooke, sorghum, millet and rice.

He, however, said during the period under review, fish catch slumped due to increased enforcement of restrictions on fishing gears and temporary closure of some fishing areas to reduce over fishing.

The services sector also registered growth during the period under review due to growth in wholesale and retail trade, transport and communication, education and public administration.

The services sector, however, registered a decline in value added for hotels and restaurants and financial services in the same quarter. Gross domestic product (GDP) – the measure of the performance of an economy – refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. It is also used as a primary indicator to gauge the health of a country’s economy.

Ubos launched the QGDP estimates in October to provide a picture of the current economic development, which is timelier compared to the annual GDP. The QGDP figures are important in measuring, analysing and providing continuous assessment of economic developments to facilitate timely decision making for economic policy intervention.

Dr Mukiza, however, indicated that the industrial sector’s value added declined to Shs1.35 trillion during the quarter under review compared to an increase of Shs1.45 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2010/2011.

This was hinged on a drop in the value added for the construction industry, which fell due to reduction in value added for civil works.

The industrial sector’s performance and manufacturing activities are also said to gave been curtailed by a slump in value added for electricity supply due to reduced electricity generation and high costs of imported raw materials due to the depreciation of the dollar.

By Faridah Kulabako, Daily Monitor

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