Uganda’s GDP expands by 13 per cent, says finance minister

Uganda said its gross domestic product has expanded by 13 per cent after it rebased its calculation to incorporate new sectors in the economy.
The east African country’s GDP stood at Ush68.4 trillion ($24.69 billion) at the end of the 2013/14 financial year, after the rebasing, the finance ministry said on Friday, from a previous estimate of Ush60.5 trillion.

The ministry said it changed the base year for its GDP calculations to 2009/10 from 2002.
Uganda follows in the footsteps of other sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria and Kenya which have rebased their economies to try to capture the output of new sectors like information technology and entertainment services.

Uganda’s rebasing exercise means debt levels fall as a proportion of GDP, a closely watched ratio, and could give the government some leeway for more borrowing to help finance its plans to build new transport links and repair creaking infrastructure.

At a function to release results of the rebasing, Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka said the government now had a better understanding of “sectors where investments should be channeled in order to grow the economy and create jobs.”

With a population of about 34.9 million people, Uganda’s GDP per capita now stands at about $700.
Uganda expects to start pumping crude oil in 2018 after commercial reserves, estimated at 6.5 billion barrels, were found its in west in 2006.