Gambian economy is expected to grow by 3.0 percent in 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The minister of Finance and Economics Affairs Amadou Sanneh, has said that the Gambian economy is expected to grow by 3.0 percent in 2017 compared with an actual outturn of 2.2 percent in 2016.

The Finance minister made this statement last week at the National Assembly in Banjul when he was delivering the 2018 budget before deputies.

Hon. Sanneh said the agricultural sector – a major force of economic growth is expected to rebound to 2.6 percent in 2017 compared with 0.5 percent in the preceding year.

Crop-production is also forecasted to grow by 0.9 percent compared with a contraction of 3.2 percent whilst livestock is projected to grow by 3.8 percent to 3.2 percent in 2016.

Similarly, forestry and fishing subsectors are anticipated to expand by 3.0 percent and 4.0 percent respectively in 2017 against 3.0 percent and 3.5 percent a year ago.

“Industry is also expected to experience a marginal contraction of 0.8 percent in 2017 compared to a contraction of 3.1 percent last year,” he said. “The contraction in the industrial sector is due to poor performance in manufacturing and electricity, gas and water supply, all of which are anticipated to record a contraction of 5.1 and 14.0 percent respectively in 2017 compared to 1.0 and 7.3 percent growth last year.”

In addition, the construction sector is also anticipated to record 6.2 percent growth in 2017 compared with 5.9 percent registered in 2016.

According to the Finance minister, service sector growth is anticipated to experience a small set back with growth projected to fall to 4.1 percent in 2017 compared with 5.1 percent last year.

“Hotels and restaurants subsector is anticipated to record 5.0 percent in 2017 compared to 19.7 percent to 2016,” he said. The substantially low performance of the service sector, he said, is due to the negative impact of the December political impasse that affected the tourism sector, leading to low occupancy over the period January- March 2017.

As tourism constituted the biggest share of the service sector, he said, adding that this invariably led to a contraction in the growth of the sector. “Growth in the communication sector in 2017 is expected to register 13.5 percent compared to 9.3 percent in 2016. While all service sub-sectors are anticipated to experience positive growth, most sectors are projected to register smaller growth in 2017 compared to 2016.”

Hon. Sanneh further informed deputies that the impact of global commodity price development will filter into our domestic economy via the pass through in fuel prices and as OPEC cartel continues to reduce production output. This, he said is estimated to trigger increase in the world market price of fuel, rising from 47.1 dollars per barrel in 2017 to 53.1 dollars per barrel in 2018, which implies an increase of 12.7 percent over the review period.

“This is expected to have domestic inflationary pressures on fuel prices in the Gambia.”

Author: Njie Baldeh
Source: Picture: Amadou Sanneh, Minister of Finance and Economics Affairs