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13 May 2012 | Feature Article

Dr. Abbey Should Get Real

I don't know what kind of think-tank is the so-called Center for Policy Analysis (CEPA), which is reportedly run by Dr. Joe Abbey, a former Government Statistician. But one thing is incontrovertible; and it is the fact that based on the purely emotional reaction of the CEPA head to the unarguably brilliant analysis of Ghana's crisis-ridden economy by the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, one can quite fairly conclude that not much that is “think-tanky” takes place at the Joe Abbey Academy (See “CEPA Boss Asks Bawumia to Substantiate Claims” 5/10/12).

First of all, the CEPA chief rather unprofessionally and shamelessly pleads his own cause by imperiously presuming to caution the Mills-Mahama regime against unsavorily mounting a self-interested defense on behalf of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), whose inflationary figures, or data, Dr. Bawumia authoritatively questioned in his Ferdinand O. Ayim Memorial Lecture, and then turn round within the same breath to do exactly the same. Or ought the public to take the CEPA chief's visceral reaction to imply that, indeed, his establishment is nothing more than the academic, or intellectual, front for the National Democratic Congress (NDC)?

It is also rather pathetic for Dr. Abbey to ask Vice-President-in-Waiting Bawumia to “substantiate” his claims against the glaring cooking of the proverbial books by the Ghana Statistical Service, when that is precisely what the former Deputy-Governor of the Bank of Ghana did in the aforesaid lecture. And for those who may not have read the relevant excerpts of Dr. Bawumia's presentation, published in the Ghanaian Statesman, the renowned young lecturer specifically cited his personal visits to the Malata (Mallam Atta) and Makola markets on a fact-finding mission of empirically ascertaining the cost of living in the nation's capital as measured against the GSS's inflationary figures. The Akufo-Addo running-mate also cites scientifically verifiable inflationary figures for all three Fourth-Republican administrations so far. As well, the Simon Fraser- and Oxbridge-educated economist notes that the purported single-digit inflationary rate claim made by the NDC government does not reflect the precipitous fall in the exchange rate between the Ghanaian Cedi and the American Dollar.

In sum, what he ought to do if, indeed, he has any reservations about Dr. Bawumia's assessment of the current shape of Ghana's economy, as it were, is for Dr. Abbey to vehemently counter the same with his own scientifically verifiable interpretation and conclusions. And doesn't the CEPA director, by the way, eloquently vindicate Dr. Bawumia's all-too-astute counsel against any shallow and sophomoric attempt by opponents of the New Patriotic Party to advance the ideological cause of the National Democratic Congress via the reprehensible use of “Propaganda Economics”?

Indeed, Dr. Philomena Nyarko, the Acting Government Statistician, reserves the right to vigorously defend the integrity of the GSS, since her position at the latter institution, presently, is what butters her proverbial bread. Needless to say, like Dr. Abbey, her apparent ideological surrogate, Dr. Nyarko would be better off and far more convincing in taking on Dr. Bawumia purely on the strength or weakness of his economic analysis, rather than merely because she feels deeply affronted by the same.

Also, perhaps, the Ghanaian taxpayers, whose revenue funds the Ghana Statistical Service and remunerates the staff of the GSS, ought to be discussing the murky circumstances under which President John Evans Atta-Mills ousted the most recent substantive director of the GSS, Dr. Grace Bediako. Very likely, much that is telling and quite intriguing could be learned about the nasty politics that is the daily dietary fare of the operations of the Ghana Statistical Service, and which no highly placed public official or civil servant seems willing to broach.

We also need to highlight the fact that it is no mark of commendable institutional efficiency when nearly a year on, the Ghana Statistical Service has yet to release any credible figures for the 2012 national census. And this is the organization that Dr. Nyarko, the Acting Head of the GSS would have the rest of her countrymen and women believe has any relevance and/or integrity to protect?

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is Director of The Sintim-Aboagye Center for Politics and Culture and author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (, 2005). E-mail: [email protected]

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