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20.11.2002 Business & Finance

Inflation Rate Hikes to 13.2%

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FIGURES RELEASED by the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS) on Monday during the celebration of the Africa Statistics Day, indicate that inflation rate for last month increased to 13.2% from 12.9% for that of September; however the yearly inflation rate for last month dropped to 16% from 17%. In explaining the cause and effect of this, the acting government statistician, Dr. K.A. Twum-Baah, explained that the increase in last month's rate was due to the demand for foreign exchange to import goods for the Christmas festivities and that the trend has been similar every year. He gave the assurance that there should not be any cause for alarm, adding that the increment is minimal and that if the necessary measures were taken to arrest this, it would be possible for the country to achieve the 13% inflation target at the end of the year. Dr. Twum-Baah noted that the major constraint hindering the activities of the national statistical system is the general "non-committal" attitude towards matters of statistics and the reluctance of users of statistical data to pay for the data they need for planning.

He mentioned that many of their programmes continue to be postponed because of inadequate funds. He added that the GSS is unable to keep trained and experienced staff because of the poor conditions of service and therefore appealed to the government to allocate a higher and significant proportion of the budget to the service.

He also pleaded with the government to reconstitute the board of directors of the service.

In a speech read for him by Mr. Osei Bonsu, his special assistant, the senior minister and chairman of the economic management team, J .H. Mensah, send the government would soon inaugurate the board of directors of the GSS to guide and implement the programmes of the service.

Hon. Mensah said for the national statistical system to play its effective role in promoting good governance and effective economic management, there is the need to strengthen its delivery capacity to ensure that relevant and reliable indicators for measuring performance are produced on a timelier basis through the application of resilient scientific and state of the art methods.

In a keynote address, Dr.Kwesi Nduom, Minister for Economic and Regional Integration, said the country could achieve the $1000 target of per capita income it is aspiring for, if the GSS can produce credible information that would be used to form the basis for development planning and monitoring of projects.

He did not understand why interest rate has reduced to about 13% while lending rate is around 35%, decrying the spread as "too much". He also did not understand why interest rate is around 13% while the treasury bill rate is still hovering around 30%.

He contended that the perception that the huge spread is due to the risk factor is not tenable.

He observed that misreporting is one of the problems facing the country and that GSS should try as much as possible to supply good, accurate and timely data for official use.

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