Dr Philomena Nyarko, Head of GSS
The New Patriotic Party has charged the acting Director of the Ghana Statistical Service to stay away from dabbling in partisan politics and concentrate on providing reliable statistics to guide the nation's development planning.
According to the party, in her response to the lecture on the state of the economy delivered by the party's vice presidential candidate, Mahamudu Bawumia, the action boss of the GSS “completely misrepresented what was actually stated by Dr Bawumia in an apparent attempt to please her political masters.”
A statement signed by Perry Okudzeto, Deputy Communications Director of the party, noted that there had been an attempt to claim that Dr Bawumia had presented cumulative changes in prices as inflation.
“This is a fabrication or an attempt to mislead. Dr Bawumia was categorical in stating that he was looking at the cost of living. He made the point that the cost of living had gone up significantly in Ghana and used some price changes as examples. The GSS cannot deny this,” the statement insisted.
Dr Bawumia also noted that these cumulative price changes did not mean that single digit inflation was not possible.
“I should add that these price changes do not necessarily mean that single digit inflation is not possible. It would depend on what is being measured and over what period. What we see of price increases for basic commodities in our markets over the last year is that they are increasingly volatile and definitely at rates beyond single digits,” the NPP vice presidential candidate noted in his lecture.
The NPP therefore finds it difficult to understand why the Acting Director of GSS chose to ignore that part of Dr Bawumia's statement.
Dr Bawumia had further noted that the developments in prices of some common items, even within the last year (e.g. maize prices in Bolgatanga market which have risen by 60% between 2011 and 2012) appeared inconsistent with single digit inflation.
According to the NPP, Dr Bawumia's assessment was not based on cumulative price changes, describing as unfortunate the desperate attempts by the Acting Director of the GSS to misrepresent what Dr Bawumia said.
The statement noted that Dr Bawumia in his presentation was very careful not to question the integrity of the GSS.
“The key question that is on the minds of many Ghanaians is: “Do we really have single-digit inflation in Ghana today?” While I do not want to argue with or question the integrity of our hard working officials at the Ghana Statistical Service who do a good job under very difficult circumstances, and should indeed be resourced (and given more independence) to do the work they do, I will like to state that the available evidence indicates that statistically reported single digit inflation is not consistent with the economic fundamentals and developments in some key economic indicators relating to the cost of living, interest rates and exchange rates. It could be a measurement issue, but the established relationships between inflation and key economic variables appear to have gone missing for now,” the NPP vice presidential candidate said in his lecture.