By Amina Faki
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the economy has experienced a relatively conducive environment for growth during the first three-quarters of the year 2016.
Despite the fair growth in the first three-quarters, the last quarter of growth was negatively impacted on by persistent drought especially on the agricultural sector and a slower growth of the electricity supply industry.
An estimate of 5.8 percent growth in the GDP for three consecutive years was experienced in 2016 compared to 5.7 percent in 2015. Growth was robust over the years and well spread but only in a few sectors where it was subdued
A report from the NBS shows that the most improved growth was registered by food and accommodation services by 13.3 percent in 2016 from 1.3 percent in 2015. Information and communication sector, real estate, transport, and storage realized an improvement in economic activities.
Even with most of the sectors realizing an improvement in the general economic growth, a number of sectors still lag behind in economic growth; construction, mining and quarrying, financial and insurance activities registered a decline in growth.
Growth was mainly driven by consumption in both the private and public sectors. Key macroeconomic indicators remained fairly stable in 2016.
The Central Bank target of 5 percent contained the annual average inflation rate to stand at 6.3 percent compared to an average of 6.6 percent in 2015. The significant slowdown in prices of transportation, housing, utilities, and communication eased the rate of inflation.
There was a decline in credit to the private sector despite the capping of the rates. Domestic credit growth decelerated from 20.8 percent in 2015 to 6.4 percent in 2016, with credit to private sector.
The fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP is expected to rise to 9.9 percent in 2016/17 compared to 8.6 per cent in 2015/16 expanding by 4.3 percent against a target of 6.8 percent.
Activity in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in 2016 was depressed compared to the performance recorded in 2015. The sector is estimated to have expanded by 4.0 percent in 2016 down from a revised growth of 5.5 percent in 2016.