Ugandans Are Much Richer – UBOS

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Ugandan economy is bigger than previously estimated, with new numbers showing Ugandans are much richer than had been thought, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).

Ubos says they rebased the economy using the prices of 2015/16 financial year. This saw Uganda’s size of the economy or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) jump up by 18.3% to Uganda Shillings 108.5trillion in 2016/17 financial year. It had been thought to be just Shs 92trillion that year.

Ubos now is using a new base year of 2015/16 instead of the 2009/10 financial year to calculate Uganda’s value of the economy.

Rebasing is the process of replacing an old base year with a new and more recent base year. A base year provides the reference point to which future values of the GDP are then compared.

In the numbers, released on Thursday evening, Ubos shows that in 2018/19, Uganda’s economy was worth Uganda shillings 122.7tn ($33bn) – up by 11.6% from the previous number published of Shs 110trillion ($30bn).

Aliziki Kaundha Lubega, the director macroeconomics statistics at Ubos, said the rebasing shows that the industry sector registered the biggest revision of 51.4%. Its contribution to GDP grew from just Shs 19trillion to Shs 28trillion.

This can be an indicator that Ugandans are manufacturing and constructing more than was being reported. Informal mining, oil and gas, and construction activities pushed up the value of this sector.

Agriculture and services sectors were revised by 13% and 9.2% respectively.

Also, net taxes – that is the money collected minus tax holidays – went up by 4.4%.

The new figures mean that Ugandans are richer than previously thought. Taking the 2018/19 figure ($33bn) for instance, it means that each Ugandan now is estimated to earn $891 or Shs 3.1m annually, up from $860 the previous year.

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said the new figures show that the economy can even grow further if the cost pushers of higher electricity tariff, costly transport are tamed.

However, the new figures don’t mean that every Ugandan earns this money. It could be that richer Ugandans grew their wealth more thus pulling the average earning for all Ugandans.

The industry sector that experienced the biggest revision is not where the poor people are found. Most of them are in agriculture.

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