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Kwaku Kwateng and Ebo Duncan Director of the Economic and Industrial Statistics department of the GSS
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The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS)has once again denied allegations from the opposition NPP that the data it uses to calculate the rate of inflation are questionable.

The Statistical Service has reiterated its position that it gathers its figures from the field and the right sources and does not cook up the figures as being speculated by the NPP.

This is the second time in recent times that the NPP has raised questions about the authenticity of the data that determines the country’s inflation rate, which has seen consistent decline for about 18 months.

Explaining the rationale behind its questioning of the inflation figures Kweku Kwarteng, Policy Advisor of the NPP told Citi FM on Thursday August 25:

“In June 2011 the party wrote to the Ghana Statistical Service to furnish us with the market retail prices on the basis of which the GSS calculates its figures picked from the field.

“We did that because there was a debate about the experiences of people going to the market and the inflation figures being put out. The NPP did not take sides.

“In order to make a constructive contribution to that discussion we asked for those figures.

“The figures they brought us on the 5th of July 2011 contained errors and irregularities and we have pointed those ones out to the GSS, we have not brought an official responds even though we have heard remarks by some of their officers on radio and ones we have the response, we would determine what to do”.

Outlining some of the anomalies the NPP claimed to have found in the figures presented to them by the Statistical Service, Kwaku Kwarteng mentioned that “for many of the markets, some of the items had prices of zero indicated against them.

“In the whole of Cape Coast it is zero across all the markets there, it is zero across all the markets in Bawdwiase, it is zero across all the price outlets in Kumasi. Obviously there should be something wrong with the data and therefore we are asking the statistical service to institute full investigations into the irregularities so that going forward, we can all confidently accept the figures they put out”.

Responding to the NPP’s concerns the Director of the Economic and Industrial Statistics department of the GSS, Ebo Duncan indicated that “we collect our prices at a specific period in a month, so we have designated days that we collect the price, meaning we do not go to the market everyday to collect the price so for the rural areas for instance you take a market day.

“We go on the first market day so it is possible that the day that you went to read the price you could not get the item.

“So they would put dash there and the system would treat it as a missing item. You know that inflation is an average figure, it treats it as a missing item, you cannot put any other figure there and there are some items too that are not available in certain markets…”

He further intimated that he invited Mr. Kweku Kwarteng to come to the office of the Ghana Statistical Service to come and see how the imputations are done but Mr. Kwarteng dismissed the invitation out of hand.
Source: citifmonline

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