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General News | Apr 15, 2004

Ghanaians Are Poorer

The Insight
Ghanaians Are Poorer

Despite recent attempts by some academics and the government to whitewash the worsening poverty situation in the country, a study conducted by the statistical service last year and subsequently suppressed by the service under pressure from the government shows that the financial and economic conditions of Ghanaians under the NPP government are actually getting worse, not better.

On October 17, 2003, the acting government statistician, Dr. K. A. Twum-Baah, told the conference on International Day for the eradication of Poverty in Accra that 54.3 per cent of Ghanaians felt that their economic situation was worse now compared with one year ago. Only 22.8 per cent said that their economic condition was better in 2003 than it was in 2003.

The study also found that the financial situation of Ghanaians had equally deteriorated during the government's continued implementation of IMF-World Bank policy under the HIPC initiative. As a result of that, sources tell the Insight the government prevailed upon the statistical service, a nominally independent body, not to release the full report to the public until after the 2004 elections.

The Insight, however has managed to obtain a copy of the government statistician speech which points a more disturbing picture of poverty in the country than was initially reported by some media houses. For example in addition to the 54.3 per cent who said their economic conditions had worsened under the NPP. 56.2 per cent of respondents also said that they were dissatisfied with their household's financial situation, only 15.2 per cent said they were satisfied with their financial situation.

The report also shows wide disparities between rural and urban areas, as well as across the various regions. The percentage of people expressing satisfaction with their financial condition ranged from a lowly 9.0 per cent in the Volta Region, to a middling 19.6 per cent in the Ashanti and Northern regions.

Despite the NPP government's claims that its policies are aimed at alleviating rural poverty, a staggering 74.9 per cent of rural dwellers views themselves as poor, compared to 41.3 per cent nationally. Regionally, the percentage of those viewing themselves at poor ranged from 32.2 per cent in Greater Accra to 71.6 per cent in the Upper East.

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