General News of 2014-08-27

We don’t “cook” inflation figures – Gov’t statistician

Government Statistician Dr Philomena Nyarko has said the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana Dr Mahmoud Bawumia erred in challenging the credibility of official exchange rate and inflation data churned out by the Ghana Statistical Service and the Central Bank.

The 2012 running mate of the New Patriotic Party in a statement recently said figures from the Ghana Statistical Service and the Bank of Ghana “raise serious concerns” since the exchange rate, in particular, keeps varying.

“The Bank of Ghana (BoG) would have us believe that since June 17 this year, the exchange rate of the cedi to the US dollar has remained unchanged at some Ghc 3.02 per US dollar. According to the BoG, the exchange rate has remained fixed at this rate over the last three months. A simple look at the interbank market exchange rates indicates that the cedi has not only been depreciating daily, but is currently trading between Ghc3.7 and Ghc4.1 per dollar with an average of some Ghc3.8 per US dollar,” the economist-turned-politician argued.

However, the head of the Ghana Statistical Service Dr Nyarko has pointed out that the leading opposition stalwart wants to throw dust into the eyes of Ghanaians.

“Inflation figures are not cooked,” the government statistician stressed in a Radio Ghana report. “We should note that inflation does not depict pure price changes. Not all price increases may be inflationary. It is possible that Dr Bawumia did not take into account the base rate.”

In a related development, she said at a news conference that Ghana's annual producer price inflation stood at 47.4 percent year-on-year in July up from the last estimate for June of 33.1 percent.

“All the sub-sectors have recorded increases, but the main driver is the manufacturing sector, which constitutes more than two-thirds of total industry," said Dr Nyarko. Prices in that sector rose 13.2 percentage points, she added.

Producer price inflation is an advance indicator of consumer price inflation, which rose to a four-year high of 15.3 percent in July, driven partly by a depreciation of the Cedi.

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