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ET Mensah Supports Bawumia

The Economy

ET Mensah Supports Bawumia

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Contrary to the recent stance taken by the ruling National Democratic Congress on Dr. Mahmudu Bawumia’s critique of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), compelling evidence shows that the NDC secretly shares Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s views that the GSS needs a resource boost that will make it truly independent.

DAILY GUIDE is privy to a recent response to Parliament by the then Minister of Employment and Social Welfare, E.T. Mensah, where he admitted that all might not be well with the GSS.

When his ministry repeatedly failed to access a functional national labour statistics from the GSS, Mr. Mensah told Parliament: “Indeed the Ghana Statistical Service, the institution responsible for the production of national statistics of various forms is woefully under resourced”.

E.T Mensah’s views about the GSS were captured in his letter to the clerk of Parliament dated July 28, 2010, with reference number SCR 238/336/01.

Mr. Mensah further wrote; “One major challenge facing the Ghana labour market is the lack of regular and timely availability of labour statistics. This is obviously blamed on lack of investment in the collection and analysis of labour market indicators on regular basis”.

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This view shared by the NDC government at the time corroborates Dr. Bawumia’s critique about the need for government to channel more resources to the statistical service so that they could deliver optimal results on national data.

A few days ago, both the NDC government and the Government Statistician, Dr. Philomena Nyarko, descended heavily on Dr. Bawumia for questioning the fundamentals of statistical reporting at the GSS. At the 5th Fredinand Ayim Memorial Lecture tagged ‘True State of the Economy’, Dr. Bawumia drew attention to the controversial issue of the declining rate of inflation reported by the GSS that appears to disagree with actual price movements in the markets.

“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”, Dr. Bawumia told a dumbfounded nation last week at the memorial lecture.

According to Dr. Bawumia, an economist who doubles as the running-mate of the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) Presidential candidate, lack of requisite resources could compromise the quality of data that the GSS was churning out. “ 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; they should indeed be resourced (and given more independence) to do the work they do”, Dr Bawumia noted.

Promptly after this statement, government officials, including the two Deputy Ministers of Finance, Fiifi Kwetey and Seth Tekper, the Chairman of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Presidency, Dr. Tony Aidoo, among other NDC officials, registered their disgust at Dr. Bawumia’s observation.

Essentially, these government officials think Dr. Bawumia’s call for more resources for the GSS was misplaced and mischievous, intending to cast doubt on the GSS statistics.

Latest to condemn Dr. Bawumia’s suggestion is the Government Statistician, Dr. Philomena Nyarko. She staged a press conference on Tuesday, where she apparently dismissed the notion that the GSS needed more resources to make it truly independent.

“The GSS is a professional institution and has produced GDP, inflation and other statistics on the country over the years…these among others are the reason why we are unhappy that Dr. Bawumia concluded his speech by stating that it is time for Ghana to have a truly independent and well resourced statistical service”, Dr. Nyarko noted.

Meanwhile, the NPP, through its Deputy Director of Communications, Perry Okudzeto, has dismissed the interpretations being ascribed to Dr. Bawumia’s suggestions by the government statistician, cautioning her not to dabble in partisan politics.

“In her response to Dr. Bawumia’s lecture on the state of the economy, the Acting Director of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has completely misrepresented what was actually stated by Dr. Bawumia in an apparent attempt to please her political masters”, stated Mr. Okudzeto.

By: Raphael Adeniran

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana



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