Marginal growth recorded in 2019 – NSA …as GDP contracted by 1.6 percent

Staff Writer

The size of the Namibian economy is estimated to have grown by N$225 million, from N$181.0 billion in 2018 to N$ 181.2 billion in 2019, the latest Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) annual national accounts estimates show.

This comes as Namibia’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 1.6 percent in 2019 compared to a growth of 1.1 percent recorded in 2018.

“The contractionary performance of the economy in 2019 was mainly due to the Primary industries that declined by 8.9 percent. The contraction in the Primary industries was observed across all sectors namely ‘Mining and quarrying’ (-11.1 percent) and ‘Agriculture, forestry and fishing’ (-5.7 percent),” said NSA’s Statistician General and CEO Alex Shimuafeni on Thursday.

“In contrast, the secondary industries recorded a positive performance in real value added of 1.7 percent. The improved performance was mainly observed in the manufacturing sector that increased by 3.0 percent. The tertiary industries recovered albeit registering a decline of 0.1 percent in 2019 when compared to a contraction of 1.2 percent in 2018. The main drivers of the recovery of the tertiary industries are the following two sectors that recorded positive growths ‘information and communication’ (8.6 percent) and ‘financial and insurance service activities’ (6.0 percent).”

In the period under review, Namibia’s consumption expenditure amounted to N$ 178 billion.

“Namibia’s final consumption expenditure amounted to N$178 billion in 2019 compared to N$ 171.8 billion in 2018 with the private consumption expenditure accounting for 74 percent of the total final consumption expenditure,” Shimuafeni said.

This comes as Namibia recorded a trade deficit of N$3.5 billion for month of July, 2020 after importing goods valued at N$9.4 billion.

“For the month of July this year, Namibia’s exported goods worth N$5.9 billion while importing goods amounting to N$9.4 billion, thus resulting in the country registering a deficit trade balance of N$3.5 billion, the highest deficit over the period under review (July 2019-July 2020). The deficit follows a surplus of N$270 million recorded in June 2020 which was the second surplus during the period under review (July 2019-July 2020),” he said.

According to NSA’s latest trade figures, China maintained its dominance as the country’s largest export destination, with a share of 40.1 percent of all goods exported, while South Africa remains the country’s largest source of imports, accounting for 37.4 percent of total imports.

“Belgium, Spain and Zambia formed part of Namibia’s top five export destinations. Countries such as DRC, Chile and Bulgaria also formed part of Namibia’s top five sources of imports. In terms of regional composition, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) was the largest export market during the month of July 2020, with a market share of 41.8 percent of total exports followed by the SACU region with relative market shares of 22.4 percent,” the NSA Statistician General and CEO said.

“Namibia’s trade by mode of transport indicated that in July 2020, the majority of goods exported left the country by sea, accounting for 67.4 percent of total exports. Most of the goods that entered Namibia came by road, accounting for 63.2 percent of total imports followed by sea (35.6 percent) and air (1.2 percent).”

Results of the second survey of COVID-19 Effects on Selected Businesses shows that 87.8 percent of businesses are adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic compared to the 96.5 percent that was reported in the first round of the survey released in May 2020.

“The survey indicated that almost half of the businesses (48 percent) continued to trade partially as compared to 50 percent that operated partially during the first round of the survey. This was followed by 31 percent of businesses that indicated they continued to trade at full capacity, an increase when compared to 21.2 percent of businesses that cited to be operating at full capacity during the first round of the survey,” he said.

Shimuafeni said despite government introducing some relief packages in order to mitigate the impact of coronavirus, the survey results shows that only 23.7 percent of the businesses managed to obtain such relief packages during this period.

“A significant amount of businesses (30.2 percent) reported to have retrenched workers during the state of emergency period, thus an indication of rising unemployment during the prevailing pandemic period,” he said.

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