Economy sees highest growth in pandemic era


…but industry still in ditch

The country’s economy has seen its highest growth since the pandemic struck the globe, as impressive performances in the services and agriculture sectors have inspired some confidence of a quick recover – though industry is still floundering in the dark.

Data released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) shows the economy recorded 6.6 percent growth in the third quarter of 2021 – a further improvement of the revised 5.1 percent recorded in the previous quarter. Compared to the same period last year, the economy contracted by 3.2 percent.

In nominal terms, the value of products and services produced in the country within the period under discussion was worth GH¢110.1billion, compared with GH¢91.5 billion the same period last year.

The services sector, as usual, led the charge – as it saw growth of 13.4 percent. It was followed by the agriculture sector with 9.2 percent. Industry, however, contracted by 2 percent, making it the fifth time it has seen negative growth within a one-year period. Industry’s contraction was heavily influenced by mining and quarrying, which saw an 11.2 percent contraction.

This means the mining and quarrying sub-sector remains the only industry not to experience growth since 2020, a phenomenon that CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemana Koney, explained in an earlier interview with the B&FT may be due to the challenges facing small-scale mining players.

“We have been concerned with the trend. When you look at the mining industry now, the sector consists of both small and large-scale miners. In the last few years, small-scale mining has been such an important part of the industry that, at a point in time, it contributed about 35 percent of gold production. Our checks show that there has been a near-collapse in export from the small-scale mining sector; so this may largely account for the mining sector’s poor performance.

“When we talk about small-scale mining in this country, generally, it is more about purchases and exporting than production. So, it may even happen that production has not gone down but exportation through official channels has gone down. What I am driving at is that, probably, production is going up and yet a lot of smuggling is happening.

“Unfortunately, when it comes to small-scale mining we don’t capture production but capture exportation. So, if you are capturing what is exported and there is smuggling, it means the GDP will go down because we are using exportation as a proxy for production,” he said.

In terms of contribution to the economy, the services sector maintained its position as the largest contributor to GDP with 45 percent; followed by industry with 31 percent, despite its contraction. The agriculture sector continues to be least contributor to GDP with 24 percent.

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