THE GHANA Statistical Service (GSS) is torn between the devil and the deep blue sea, as it battles to announce a new growth rate or Gross Domestic Product of the country for 2008.
According to information reaching CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE, there is controversy over the announcement of the GDP as reports indicate that the GSS is under pressure from the new government to release a growth rate below a certain figure.
The paper further learnt that certain elements within the new government want a GDP that will suit their claim that the economy is broke.
However, Dr. Grace Bediako, the Government Statistician says a new growth rate for 2008 would be released by the GSS by April this year.
In November 2008, the GSS issued a provisional data of the country's GDP which pegged Ghana's growth rate at 6.7 percent for last year, a 0.3 percent below its target of 7.0 percent.
However, the GSS revised the growth rate for the Ghanaian economy for the 2008 fiscal year which pegged it at a modest 6.2 percent as opposed to the September 2008 projection.
Dr. Grace Bediako, the Government Statistician explained that figures needed to be revised especially the agriculture and services sector since the global financial crisis which slowed growth rate in most advanced economies impacted on them during the last quarter of the year.
Manufacturing also slowed in the final quarter of last year, possibly as a result of earlier hikes in petroleum, whilst agriculture and the services sector maintained momentum, she added. “The GDP might go up or down”.
The first female Government Statistician also emphasized that the rate of growth had been sluggish in the final quarter of 2008, explaining that economic activity for the period had been dominated largely by buying and selling which added little value to growth.
According to projected figures, Ghana's economy reached GH¢17.104 billion, from GH¢14.178 billion recorded in 2007.
Similarly, the country's per capita income which stood at $661.0 according to the 2007 figure had shot up to about $700.
According to the figures, industry which was hit severely by the energy crisis or power fluctuation in 2007 recorded the highest growth of 9.99 percent as compared with 7.4 percent achieved in 2007.
Remarkably, the mining and quarrying and construction sub-sectors recorded significant growth while manufacturing as well as electricity and water witnessed slightly marginal growth.
On the other hand, the services sector fell short of its target, growing by 6.47 percent as against 8.2 percent obtained in 2007. Importantly almost all the sub-sectors including finance, insurance, estate and business services as well as transport, storage and communication all recorded some gains.
With regard to the agriculture sector, which has received some criticisms from a cross-section of the public, it grew by 4.93 percent as compared with 4.3 percent achieved in 2007.
From a GDP growth rate of 3.7 percent in 2000, it shot up to 4.2 percent in 2001, 4.5 percent in 2002, and 5.2 percent in 2003. In 2004, 2005 and 2006, the economy grew further by 5.6, 5.9 and 6.0 percent respectively.
By Charles Nixon Yeboah & Samuel Boadi