Economy gets off to a slower start in 2019

The Bureau of Statistics says Uganda’s economic growth lost some steam in the first three months of 2019, after rebounding in the last two quarters of 2018.

Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 5.7% in the first quarter, down from 7.9% at the end of last year, according to seasonally adjusted estimates from Ubos. That’s significantly lower than the 6.9% (revised) rate of growth recorded in the same period in 2018.

The biggest contributions to economic growth came from food crop production, financial and insurance services, trade and repairs, and education activities.

Food crop production increased by 5.5% year on year to Shs1.8 trillion on account of favourable weather conditions, down from 11.7% in the last three months of 2018; the sub-sector accounted for the largest subcategory share of GDP with 11.3%.

Financial and insurance services rose 20.6% from a year earlier, while trade and repairs and education activities expanded 5.3% and 6.8%, respectively. The three categories fall under the services sector, the largest category of GDP with a share of 53.3%.

The services sector expanded by 6.5%, while value-added by the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector rose 5.1% and the industry sector increased by 3.3%.

Economic growth from the previous quarter was recorded at 0.3%, down from 1.2% in the final three months of 2018 and the slowest quarter on quarter expansion in twelve quarters.

The slower expansion of GDP from the previous quarter follows a contraction in agriculture, forestry and fishing, driven by a decline in forestry production, and slower services growth due to contractions in public administration and trade and repairs.

Value added in the industry sector rose 1.5% quarter on quarter and 0.4% in the services sector. It however declined by 0.8% in agriculture, forestry and fishing.