Economic reality versus Propaganda
The much-touted wonders performed by President John Evans Atta Mills’ administration on the national economy received serious rebuttals from Dr. Mahamadu Bawumiah, who has been named running-mate to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the New Patriotic Party presidential candidate for the December vote.
Addressing a large crowd at the Fifth Ferdinand Ayim Memorial Lecture in Accra on Wednesday night, Dr. Bawumiah suggested that there is more propaganda surrounding the growth of the economy than substance.
He was particularly concerned about the single digit inflation, which is not reflecting on the lives of the people, as well as on major economic indicators. He wondered why banks, for instance, have not reduced their interest rates in response to that bit of good news.
Dr. Bawumiah dispelled the notion that single digit inflation is a novelty in Ghanaian economics, telling his audience that in 1958, for instance, inflation was zero rated in the Nkrumah regime. According to the economic guru, inflation, from 1959 till 1964, was single digit. This was in the Nkrumah regime. During the Busia era, inflation dipped to single digit in 1970. In 1994, under the government of Flt Lt. Rawlings, and again, in 2006, under the Kufuor administration, inflation was down to single digit.
The Chronicle is not surprised by the tone of the lecture. Neither are we surprised by the figures the eminent economist churned out. The Chronicle has protested this idea of single digit inflation ever since it was sprung on the nation by a moribund administration that has always gone for propaganda against substance.
It does not add up that at a time the cedi the national currency has lost more than half its value, inflation could still be reckoned in single digit. When goods and services are rising in double and treble figures, inflation surely, cannot remain insulated from the rising cost of exchanging goods and services.
The Chronicle is not privy to the kind of basket of goods used in calculating inflation in this country. We do know, from Ghana Statistical Service’s own admission, that if shops earmarked for the exercise were not opened on the day of the visit by personnel working out the indices, it means that in the books of the Ghana Statistical Service, all those goods for the exercise in the shop are zero-rated in Ghana.
We do not believe this kind of method produces the right indicators for calculating inflation. Unlike Dr. Bawumiah, who did not want to fault the Statistical Service for short-changing this country, The Chronicle is of the opinion that something fundamental has gone wrong at the Office of the Government Statistician.
We are tempted to hold on to the notion that the single digit inflation has been cooked to fit into the so-called Better Ghana agenda being promoted from the lenses of people whose official duties as propaganda secretaries are to tell lies and mislead the people, so that the administration and the party that props it up would look good.
This nation is suffering from serious defects in the economy. We do not believe that the resources of state qualify this nation that is still grappling with cholera, as a result of our inability to move both liquid and solid waste, to join the comity of Middle Income nations.
A nation that cannot even feed itself cannot claim to have made much gains on the economic front. We cannot rely on propaganda and outright lies to move the economy.
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