04.03.2005 Business & Finance

Statistical service only agancy to compute GDP

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The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has stated that it is the only agency responsible for computing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the country.

It said the 5.8 per cent GDP growth rate quoted by President Mr John Agyekum Kufuor in his sessional address, and subsequently by the minister for finance and economic planning in the budget statement and economic policy of the Government, was supplied by the service and was a true reflection of the GDP growth rate for last year.

“We want to inform the general public that GDP figures for Ghana are produced solely by the Ghana Statistical Service and given to any institution or individual on request,” said the deputy government statistician, Professor Nicholas N. N. Nsowah-Nuamah, in an interview yesterday.

The Government's figure of 5.8 per cent GDP growth rate has been challenged by some people in society, notably Mr Moses Asaga, the minority spokesperson on finance, who argued that 5.4 percent should be the ideal figure.

Prof. Nsowah-Nuamah explained that though the figure of 5.8 per cent was provisional, since it took account of indicators up to the third quarter and used the results to project for the last quarter, the practice was the standard methodology that had been used for so many years in the country and the world.

He said although the figure was amenable to change, any deviation would be insignificant.

“This is the practice all over the world. It is not possible to get all the information needed for the computation just at the end of the year.” he said.

Prof Nsowah-Nuamah said what went into the basket for computing GDP were so varied that it was very difficult, if not impossible, for an individual to collect, collate and accurately compute the figure, adding that not even the Bank of Ghana had the capacity to compute the GDP figure.

This assertion has been confirmed by Dr Mahamadu Bawumia of the Bank of Ghana, who stated at the ISSER-Merchant Bank Development seminar on public policy and financial markets last week that the bank, like any other institution, was a consumer of such data as generated by the GSS, which had the statutory mandate to do so.

Prof. Nsowah-Nuamah stated that the surprise performance of the economy was probably the result of the higher than expected growth in the cocoa sector which registered 29.9 per cent growth, against a projected 16 per cent.

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