KOTA KINABALU: Sabah continued to record strong economic growth, with the services sector remaining the biggest contributor to its gross domestic product (GDP), according to the data gathered by the National Statistics Department (NSD).
The latest statistics published by the department showed the sector contributed about 50.4 per cent to Sabah’s overall GDP, followed by agriculture at 22.9 per cent, mining and quarrying 16.9 per cent, manufacturing 7.9 per cent and construction 1.4 per cent.
A census conducted by the department among 22,119 business entities in Sabah last year found 18,047 of them or 81.6 per cent were in the services sector.
NSD head Dr Abdul Rahman Hasan said this was in tandem with the country’s effort towards achieving a developed nation status, by emphasising on the shift to service-driven economy.
“Based on the statistics, the country is heading in the right direction as underlined in the Economic Transformation Programme that aims to grow the services sector from 58 per cent in 2009 to 65 per cent by 2020,” he said when speaking at the Sabah Statistics Department’s meet the customers programme here yesterday.
A handout containing key statistics at the function showed Sabah recorded a steady increase in exports and trade balance over the last three years.
Last year, the state’s export value stood at RM49.4 billion with trade surplus of RM16.6 billion, a significant increase from RM37.2 billion exports and RM11.2 billion trade surplus recorded in 2009.
Palm oil represented the biggest chunk of Sabah’s exports in 2011 at 38.8 per cent, followed by crude petroleum at 32.88 per cent.
China was Sabah’s biggest export destination, importing RM10.9 billion worth of products or 22.1 per cent of the state’s exports last year, while Peninsular Malaysia remained the biggest exporter to Sabah accounting for RM15.75 billion or 48.1 per cent of the total imports.
Other positive indicator of Sabah’s economic health was the relatively low unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent that had remained stagnant despite increase in population.
The principal statistics on employment for last year showed that there were over 1.64 million people in the labour force in Sabah, a visible increase from almost 1.59 million in 2010 and 1.35 in 2009.
According to the statistics, there were only about 85,200 unemployed citizens in Sabah last year, a slight increase from the estimated 82,100 and 74,600 in 2010 and 2009 respectively.
Meanwhile, Sabah Statistics Department director, Norezan Wahid, when delivering a talk at the event, said Sabah recorded the biggest gross output in agriculture compared to other states in the country.
He said Sabah produced RM13.21 billion or 24.7 per cent of the total of RM53.45 billion agricultural output in Malaysia last year.
In the manufacturing sector, Sabah contributed RM34.1 billion or 4.1 per cent to the country’s total output, not including RM4.6 billion or 2.7 per cent in value-added products.
In the construction sector, the state recorded RM7.4 billion, equivalent to 8.1 per cent and the fifth highest in the country.
About 6.5 per cent of 591,137 organizations and business entities under the sub-sector category were also operating in Sabah, said Norezan.