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09.02.2009 General News

Government Statistician Under Pressure

By Daily Guide
Government Statistician Under Pressure

Dr. Grace Bediako Information reaching DAILY GUIDE suggests strongly that Government Statistician Dr. Grace Bediako could soon be shown the exit, an action observers consider political.

The former staff of the United Nations (UN) is said to be under pressure from some National Democratic Congress (NDC) personalities to either resign or face the sack.  

An astute statistician, Dr. Bediako flaunts an immaculate record and is said to have refused to kowtow to pressure from the ruling party to alter the reality of the economic figures bequeathed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

NDC newspapers have already begun launching unwarranted attacks on the Government Statistician.

She was said to have been forced to change the current figures of the growth rate or the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country from 7.2 percent to 6.2 percent at a retreat of the new government that took place in Akosombo recently which the paper's source said she refused to do.

NDC's fears are that if the figure remains, it would serve as a benchmark for future GDP growth.

DAILY GUIDE further learnt that the first female statistician refused to succumb to the pressure from the NDC elements to alter the figures, a situation which resulted in an argument between two members of the transition team.

However, what appears to be making matters complicated is the fact that the Statistical Service is a quasi-autonomy organization, partly funded by the Government of Ghana and some international bodies.

Engaged on contract basis she was appointed by the Public Services Commission ahead of other personalities through a stringent interview.

The NDC government had told Ghanaians that the economy was broke, basing their argument on claims that the country's fiscal and current account deficits have escalated to 13.4 and 10 percent respectively, an assertion the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has debunked.

The NPP had argued that under its administration it achieved an increasing pace of growth, macro-economic stability and poverty reduction in the past eight years with the ultimate aim of attaining middle income status by 2015.

“Growth has been sustained at beyond 6 percent since 2006. In 2008 despite the energy crisis, rising crude oil and food prices, the economy was projected to grow at about 6.6 percent, the highest growth level in recent times.

This compares with 3.7 percent in 2001when the NPP assumed the reigns of government, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu,” Minority leader said.

Some economic analysts DAILY GUIDE also spoke to argued contrarily to what the NDC administration perceived but said the economic situation presently was not encouraging and therefore government needed to work to help it stabilize.

Again what makes the issue exciting is that if the economy was broke, the Ghana Stock Exchange would not have been chosen as the second most performing stock market in the world, achieving a return of about 60 percent for 2008.

Inflation for December was 18.13 percent, far better than in 2000 which was about 40 percent, whilst average interest rate charge on banks' lending rates is 28 percent compared with the about 50 percent in the year 2000.

The cedi had been relatively stable since July 2007 when the redenomination of the cedi took place. As at Friday February 6, 2009, the cedi had depreciated by 6.73 percent, a situation economic watchers describe as alarming.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, running mate to the New Patriotic Party flag bearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana was chased out of his office in the beginning of the year because of certain remarks he made during the recent political campaigns considered uncomplimentary to the NDC.

Dr. Bawumia has since resigned from his post.
DAILY GUIDE also gathers that Professor Nicholas Nsowah Nuamah, Deputy Government Statistician is also on his way out of the service to the classroom.

It is however unclear why the astute professor of figures is contemplating vacating his position.

Professor Nsowah Nuamah, a reliable source said, would prefer to go back to teaching at the University of Ghana where he would lecture in Statistics rather than remain as a public officer. The fine statistician is a member of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER).

According to a provisional estimate of the GDP chanced upon by DAILY GUIDE in October, the economy was projected to grow by 6.7 percent.

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.

With regard to the agricultural sector, which had 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.

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.

By Charles Nixon Yeboah

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