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Industry drives Ghana’s economy valued at GH¢6.6b in first quarter 2011

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Ghana’s industry sector is leading the country’s economy, according to the latest Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics provided by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).

In the first quarter of 2011, the economy was valued at GH¢6.6 billion as compared to GH¢5.4 billion in the same period last year.

The industry sector recorded the highest growth of 21.4% among the major sectors compared to the 3.0%  growth it recorded in 2010, overtaking the services sector which was driving the economy as at December 2010.

In terms of GDP, the sector was valued at GH¢1.6 billion in the 2011 first quarter as against GH¢1.3billion at the last quarter of 2010.

“Quarter-on-quarter, the industry sector recorded the highest growth (21.4%) among the major sectors. Within the sector, mining and quarrying rebounded from the previous quarter decline with the introduction of crude oil, increasing the sub-sector’s output by 136.1 percent, while construction output rose by 21.3 percent and electricity by 3.2 percent”, according to the figures.

But output of manufacturing and water declined by 7.0 and 1.2 percent respectively, offsetting further increases in the industry sector’s growth.

The GH¢3.1 billion value of the service sector rose 5.3% during the quarter. This is attributed to sub-sectors like transport and storage which increased by 11.5% as well as hotels and restaurants, also recording a 17.4% rise.

Business services and personal services scored a growth of 19.7% and 14.2% respectively.

There was moderate growth of less than 5 percent in public administration, education, health, and information and communication, with declines in the output of financial intermediation (-16.0%) and trade (-4.1%), the GSS said.

The agric sector which dragged the economy down during quarter by 5.1%, recorded a decline of 35.7% and the Government Statistician, Dr Grace Bediako describes it as “characteristic and seasonal of the first and second quarters of each year.” It is valued at GH¢1.4 billion.

For a very long time, the agric sector was the main driver of Ghana’s economy until the services sector took over when the economy was rebased in December 2010.

The rebasing also puts Ghana in the lower-class middle income status which some economists have questioned, arguing whether the country has reached that height.

All the subsectors in the agric sector fell in output – crops fell by -36.5%; livestock by -31.7% as well as forestry and logging recording a decline of 41.3% and fishing by -19.5%.

Interestingly, the decline in the country’s economy was influenced by what the GSS describes as “recurrent exogenous factors such as weather patterns, holidays, religious events, etc.”

But the government has assured Ghanaians that it will keep food prices down and with the establishment of the National Food Buffer Stock Company, there will be enough food on the market.

But on year-on-year basis during the first quarter of 2011, the growth of the economy accelerated by 23.0% in GDP over that of the same period in the previous year (first quarter 2010) with cocoa, mining and quarrying influenced by crude oil production and manufacturing cited by the GSS as the main contributors to this growth.

 

By Ekow Quandzie

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