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18.08.2005 General News

Two ministers disagree on Ghana’s per capita

Two ministers disagree on Ghana’s per capita
A controversy over the exact figure of the nation's per capita income arose at a function in Accra on Tuesday, between the Ministers of Health and Finance.
Minister of Health, retired Major Courage Quarshigah said the nation's per capita income is about $400, while Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, insisted that the per capita income is $600.
The controversy of over the per capita income came during the maiden Best Sector Performance Awards ceremony where Major Quarshigah commenting on the importance of punctuality, said,'if we want to improve upon our per capita income, hovering around 400 dollars, then we need to change our attitude to time.'
His statement on the per capita drew a response from the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, when it was his turn to speak. He insisted that the country's per capita income was 600 dollars.
To support his argument, he explained that dividing the normal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the nation's population arrives at the per capita income.
Citing page 303 of the 2005 budget statement and Economic policy, he said the nominal GDP is 96 trillion cedis and if you divide that by 9,173 cedis to a dollar, it gives you 10.5 billion cedis, dividing it by 20 million people that gives you 525 dollars.
“We all know that these things are understated by 25 to 30 percent, even if you use the 25 per cent understatement that gives you 131 dollars,” and when you calculate that he said, “it gives you 656 dollars, so the indicators are there.”
He noted that nations sometimes disagree on some of their figures.
“In our case, the government Statistician is mandated to give us the accurate data which they are in the process of doing, but if anybody disagrees with the 600 dollar per capita income, the person can bring out their figures, “ he stated, adding “we know that we are on the track”.
But Major Quarshigah insisted “the country's per capita income is hovering around 400 dollars”, and called on the data collection agencies to co-ordinate their activities to enable them to come out with the accurate figure.
President Kufuor said at his news conference that Ghana's per capita income was now $600 and said the IMF and World Bank have confirmed the figure.
But the IMF and World Bank say they are working with a figure of $380.