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Statistical Service is fallible and not beyond criticism-Buabeng Asamoah

By Ghana|Myjoyonline.com| Nathan Gadugah

A member of the New Patriotic Party says the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) cannot pretend it is an infallible institution and beyond criticism.

Yaw Buabeng Asamoah insists so long as human beings work at the GSS they are prone to mistakes and must not be defensive about it when those mistakes are pointed out to them.

He was reacting to the acting government's statistician, Philomena Nyarko who expressed the GSS disappointment with doubts raised over the statistical service figures by the NPP vice presidential candidate Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

Bawumia at a public lecture said the inflation figures churned by the Service and which the government has been vociferous in describing as unprecedented are suspect.

He said the single digit inflation did not correspond with the other macro economic fundamentals such as the interest rate the exchange rate, adding the cost of living was sky rocketing by the day.

“Do we really have single digit inflation,” he questioned, to which he was answered by a partisan NPP crowd with an emphatic no.

But the ruling government has hit back accusing the NPP Vice presidential candidate of being intellectually dishonest.

On Wednesday, the GSS also waded into the controversy with a caution to the NPP vice president not to impugn the integrity of the service.

Its acting boss Philomena Nyarko said at a press conference the GSS is unhappy with Bawumia's comments.

She said the Service is completely independent and professional in its mandate, asking, rhetorically, if the NPP, whilst in office tempered with the figures and activities of the service.

But on Joy News Yaw Buabeng Asamoah insisted the Service cannot claim to be perfect when in the not too distant past it has been involved in all kinds of substandard activities.

“If the service adopts the position that they are infallible then we will resort to history to demonstrate that they are not.”

“…If we go back to the analysis of the period over the years this is the same Service which was involved with the government in 1999in misreporting to the IMF resulting in the loss of $38 million to the government of Ghana.

“This is the institution which very recently had to sack its Chief Executive on the basis that there were so many problems that the World Bank was refusing to advance a capacity building loan of $40 million to them.

“This is the same institution which has advertised to employ professionals to read census figures on its behalf two years after the Census had been conducted.

When he was reminded by host, Evans Mensah that it was the same Statistical Service that computed GDP figures which painted the glory days of the NPP whilst in power from 2001-2008, Buabeng Asamoah responded, the answer to that question was in the NDC government's own report to the World Bank in 2009.

Quoting paragraphs 13 and 14 of the letter, Asamoah said the economic team of the NDC admitted in that letter that inflation rate has a link with the exchange rate and commodity prices in the country.

He also quoted the NDC manifesto which he said drew clear relationship between inflation, exchange rate and commodity prices.

He wondered why the NDC and the Statistical Service will now turn around to accuse Dr Bawumia of making the same analogy.

He said what Bawumia sought to do was to encourage the logistical support for the Service and not to discredit it.

The Head of the Economic Statistics at the Statistical Service, Ebo Duncan said the Service should not be dragged into politics.

He said the intervention by the NPP is a misunderstanding of the inflation rate.

“If you say inflation is low it doesn't mean prices are low,”

He said the NPP is not bothered by the attempt of the NPP to play politics with the Service, stating, the NDC did same whilst in opposition.