GSS advises Bawumia to be factual in presentation

DR MAHAMUDU BAWUMIAThe Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has advised the vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, to always check the authenticity of his information before going public, in order to feed the people with facts rather than perception.

Reacting to the former Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana’s (BoG) recent lecture dubbed “The IMF Bail Out: Will The Anchor Hold?,” at a news Conference in Accra yesterday, Dr. Philomena Nyarko, Government Statistician, said the GSS has never and would never generate inaccurate figures for the nation regarding inflation and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“If Dr. Bawumia had taken some time to check the facts from the Statistical Service or the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), he would have known that the coverage and the methodologies used by the two institutions differ and do not have a direct correspondence: They are statistically incomparable.

“We, however, appreciate Dr. Bawumia’s interest in the production of official statistics in Ghana and wish to inform interested individuals and institutions to contact GSS for a better understanding of the methodologies adopted in the computation of the Consumer Price Indices, inflation rates and other economic and social indicators,” she said.

Dr. Bawumia, in his presentation at the Central University College on Tuesday, March 24, said that Ghana had resorted to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bail out because of unsustained borrowing and debt stock.

But the Government Statistician’s reaction stemmed from the NPP vice presidential candidate’s doubts on the “credibility and reliability of the GDP and inflation” compiled by the GSS.

On GDP Growth rates of 2009, Dr. Bawumia was said to have queried why the overall 2009 non-oil GDP growth rate was 2.2 per cent, whereas agriculture sector grew by 7.2 per cent, industry by 4.5 and services by 5.6 per cent.

“The GSS wishes to state that there was an error during the transmission of the data unto its website. The correct figure is 4.8 per cent and not the 2.2 per cent which has subsequently been identified and corrected.

“It may interest the public to note that the 2009 GDP growth rate of 4.8 per cent was the figure provided to the IMF in January 2015,” she said.

Touching on the issue of Net Indirect Taxes to which the former Deputy Governor again questioned why real growth rate for indirect taxes were equal to the real growth rate at basic prices for all the years since 2009, Dr Nyarko pointed out that “the method for computing net indirect taxes in constant prices has been revised to align with the recommended treatment outlined in the 2008 System of National Accounts (SNA 2008) and this is consistent with GSS’ revisions policy”.

“In more specific terms, we find it difficult to reconcile Dr. Bawumia’s own figures on page 57 of his presentation where he indicated that GSS estimated a marginal decline in the rate of food prices, from 7.1% in January 2014 to 6.8% in December 2014. However, on page 61 of his lecture paper, he indicated that food inflation computed by GSS declined from 5.7% in January 2014 to 2.8% by December 2014. This disparity is difficult for us to understand especially so when the latter figures (5.7% and 2.8%) cannot be traced to GSS, even though the former are actual GSS food inflation figures.

“The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has been producing Consumer Price Indices (CPI) and inflation for the country since 1965. In computing these indices, GSS is always guided by internationally acceptable standards, methodologies and best practices,” she indicated.

By Castro Zangina-Tong 

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