Manufacturing sector hardest hit

• By Hilary Mare

A 2020 economic performance report released by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) last week reveals that secondary industries, particularly manufacturing were impacted by Covid-19 more than any other sector.

The reports highlights that secondary industries posted a decline of 14.4 percent in 2020 compared to an increase of 1.7 percent registered in 2019.

This was followed by the primary industries with a contraction of 6.1 percent, albeit a recovery when compared to a steeper decline of 6.9 percent in 2019 while the tertiary industries recorded a decline of 5.

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6 percent from a growth of 1.2 percent recorded in 2019.

“The poor performance in the secondary industries was observed in the manufacturing sector (-19.6percent) and construction sector (-11.8 percent). Within the manufacturing sector, the subsectors that recorded the highest declines were the basic non-ferrous metals (example: zinc and copper) (-46.8 percent), meat processing (-40.

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8 percent) and beverages (36.5 percent),” Alex Shimuafeni, the Statistician-General and chief executive officer of the agency said last week.

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Shimuafeni also noted that the poor performance in the primary industries was mainly reflected in the mining sector that declined by 14.9 percent while the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector recorded an increase of 5.9 percent in real value added in 2020 compared to a decline of 3.2 percent registered in the preceding year.

“The positive performance for the sector emanated from ‘crop farming and forestry’ subsector which posted a growth of 76.5 percent in real value added in 2020, compared to a decline of 32.0 percent observed in 2019,” further stated Shimuafeni.

For the year 2020, the domestic economy recorded a contraction of 8.0 percent relative to a decline of 0.6 percent registered in 2019. This is the highest contraction that Namibia has recorded looking at the time series of 1981 – 2020 (of which -1.6percent in 1993 is the second largest decline).

With regards to the tertiary industries, the poor performance was observed in most of the sectors with exception of the following sectors that recorded positive growths: information and communication (17.4 percent); real estate activities (2.

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8 percent); education (0.1 percent) and health (4.8 percent).

The sectors that were most affected in this industries were: Hotels and restaurants (-33.1 percent); transport and storage (-22.4 percent); administrative and support services (-14.5 percent); wholesale and retail trade (-11.7 percent) and financial and insurance services (-11.7 percent).

“In real terms, the final consumption expenditure declined by 7.2 percent in 2020 compared to an increase of 1.4 percent in 2019. This was reflected in both private consumption (-9.3percent) and general government consumption (-1.5percent). Similarly, the gross fixed capital formation (investment) also registered a decline of 15.9 percent in 2020.

“The nominal GDP in 2020 stood at N$176.3 billion in 2020, down by N$5.2 billion from 2019, this was reflected in the primary, secondary and tertiary industries. Similarly, final consumption expenditure contracted to N$168.1 billion from N$173.6 billion, a decline of N$5.5 billion in nominal terms, and mostly household contributing to the contraction,” Shimuafeni said.