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10.05.2007 General News

Two Bodies Dismiss World Bank Consultants' Claims

The Audit Service and the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) have dismissed claims by two World Bank consultants to the GSS that remittances from Ghanaians abroad in 2005 were $253 million.

While the Audit Service insisted that remittances in that year were $4.76 billion, the GSS distanced itself from the claims of the two consultants, saying that it had no idea where they got the figure from.

“The figure they quoted is without basis,” the Auditor-General, Mr Edward Dua Agyeman, told the Daily Graphic yesterday.

The World Bank Consultants, Messrs Harold Coulombe and Quentin Wodon, were quoted in the Ghanaian Chronicle issue of Tuesday, May 8, 2007, as saying that a recent report on poverty by the GSS had indicated that, “In a 12-month period from 2005 to 2006, Ghanaians abroad remitted to Ghana $253 million.”

That figure, the paper claimed, was contained in the GSS report on poverty, and fell far short of the $4 billion quoted by President J. A. Kufuor at various times, suggesting that the President had lied.

However, the Director of Co-ordination and Capacity Building Division of the GSS, Mr Kofi Agyeman-Duah, considered that assertion very strange. According to him, the report never touched on remittances in any of its parts.

To substantiate his contention, he gave out a copy of the “Report on Patterns and Trends of Poverty in Ghana 1991-2006” to this reporter for verification, and a close study of it vindicated him.

Mr Agyeman-Duah said the GSS had not yet generated the tables to be used for the main report and, therefore, he could not confirm or deny any figure mentioned in the public domain.

He, however, indicated that there were institutions, such as the Bank of Ghana (BoG), the Audit Service and the Accountant-General's Department, which dealt with such figures on an annual basis.

According to the Auditor-General, audited figures from the BoG indicated that in 2005, foreign remittances amounted to $4.76 billion, up from $3 billion in 2004, $2.16 billion in 2003 and $1.34 billion in 2002.

The provisional figure for January to July, 2006, stood at $3.22 billion.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the BoG, in a press release on March 27,2006, confirmed that “Private inward transfers from NGOs, religious groups, individuals etc. through the banks and finance companies for the year 2005 amounted to $4.76 billion, which represented 58.3 per cent increase over the amount recorded in 2004”.

Out of that amount, $1.39 billion (29.2 per cent) represented remittances from individuals.

Those figures, Mr Dua-Agyeman said, were in conformity with the President's figures, and in line with the projection that foreign remittances would reach $8 billion by 2015.

He said it was preposterous for the two consultants to suggest that remittances for 2005 were only $253 million when even individual remittances in that year were $1.39 billion.