Bawumia Misled Public - Government Statistician
5/11/2012 7:30:12 AM -
Dr Philomena Nyarko - Acting Government Statistician, The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has expressed concern over what it says is the misinterpretation of some indicators and inflation figures by the running mate to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate for Election 2012, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, which tends to undermine the service’s credibility.
Reacting to some comments made by Dr Bawumia in his address at the Ferdinand Ayim Memorial Lecture in Accra, the acting Government Statistician, Dr Philomena Nyarko, said although Dr Bawumia admitted that single digit inflation was not a new phenomenon, he cast doubts on the current level of inflation in Ghana.
Addressing a news conference to release the April 2012 inflation rate, she said the service had been consistent in computing inflation figures and described the example given by Dr Bawumia to support his assertion that the single digit inflation was not consistent with the economic fundamentals and developments in some key indicators as unfortunate.
Dr Nyarko explained that computing price changes over a time interval that was not consistent with the standard procedure for calculating inflation was misleading and added that the computation done by Dr Bawumia was more of a cumulative price change and not inflation.
“It is unacceptable for one to compute the cumulative price change between December 2008 and April 2012 and compare it to the year-on-year inflation rate,” she said.
The Government Statistician said Dr Bawumia’s link between the price of cement and inflation was inconsistent with what inflation represented, explaining that although cement was not in the consumer basket, it might have some influence on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
“Taking the prices of a few commodities to generalise inflation without accounting for their weights in the consumer basket is inaccurate,” she added.
She explained that the GSS was unhappy with the concluding part of Dr Bawumia’s speech on inflation which said it was time for Ghana to have a truly independent and well-resourced Statistical Service.
“We would like to remind him that it is the same institution that computed the GDP figures he used to judge the good performance of the economy between 2000 and 2008,” she said.
Dr Nyarko said it was also the same institution that computed the GDP figures that showed declining growth in agriculture in 2011 which Dr Bawumia referred to in his speech.
She said the CPI for April inched up to 9.1 per cent over the 8.8 per cent recorded in March 2012.
The CPI measures changes over time in the general price level of goods and services that households acquire for the purpose of consumption.
According to her, the food and non-alcoholic beverages group recorded an average year-on-year inflation rate of 4.8 per cent, slightly up from the 4.4 per cent recorded in March 2012.
She said on a regional level, the year-on-year inflation rate ranged from 6.3 per cent in the Upper East and Upper West regions to 12.1 per cent in the Central region.
Dr Nyarko said the Central, Western and Ashanti regions recorded inflation rates of 12.1, 9.8 and 9.8 per cent, respectively, above the national inflation rate of 9.1 per cent.