Akufo-Addo Government’s Manipulated Economic Figures can’t disguise an Economy in Trouble
The President, the Vice President and the Wife of the Vice President’s latest outburst against the critics who are expressing concerns over the fragile state of the economy is an attempt to cover up their nervousness by sheer hubris. This is what governments and its economic management team do when they become hostage to punter-like instinct, relying solely on sentiments and perceptions rather than on fundamentals and hard and genuine economic data. Top economists have expressed alarm at the politicisation of the country’s economic data by the Akufo-Addo government.
The truth is that, our economy’s statistics have become dubious and questionable. There has been a general erosion of faith in the numbers the statistical service and the Apex bank put out on the economy and the financial position of the country. Such questions and debates arise whenever government, statistical service and other state agencies release new sets of data on Ghana’s economic and employment growth
These critical national issue surfaced ever when this administration started putting out beautiful economic figures amidst unprecedented economic hardship in the country and has contributed to the construction of an overall political narrative of the Akufo-Addo government that is obsessed with controlling and guiding not just the country’s politics, but also its economic data.
This is clearly a new phase for Ghana’s economic data and represents a near precipitous fall from the high standards that prevailed before the coming into office of this regime. The divergence between findings from surveys and those from estimating the actual value of economic output is a natural phenomenon. Periodic steps are necessary to strengthen the system of surveys as also of collecting actual data on economic output to bridge the gap between the two methods.
However, for the last three years, no concrete measure has been taken in Ghana to plug the gap between survey data and economic output numbers, captured in our GDP. All we hear from government and its agencies are cooked figures, well prepared lies and propaganda theories to hide the real state of the economy and to show an exaggerated fall in poverty levels. This administration uses formal sector data to measure informal sector activities which wrong. Economists and some civil society organizations have argued that the political establishment must refrain from riding roughshod over the independent offices that should oversee the system of statistics collection and dissemination.
If President Akufo-Addo and his surrogates want to restore people’s faith in economic data that is released periodically, they must invest in building fresh capacity and competence to improve the data collection system, restore the independence of the statistical service and other institutions that collect data and refrain from interfering in their function.
Dr Kwakye and other renowned economists have expressed and expressing worry about growth being overstated than poverty being understated. It is time to set the record straight on this government’s pervasive data twisting to expose their lies, deceit and invented truth in the regime. Every year the administration makes rosy projections for public finances by completely glossing over the previous year’s shortfalls in revenue. This has affected investment. Borrowings not captured in the budget but whose burden falls on the taxpayer nonetheless.
It is difficult to trust government data and this is the first government in Ghana which is manipulating figures. No government did this earlier. All the current economical data being thrown about by government and its propagandists are manipulated. The fear environment has affected the media. The media is being forced to propagate such lies and inaccuracies and imposes restrictions on people who try to set the record straight. Owners of media houses are forced to sack presenters who offer their platform to the opposition or genuine analysts to diagnose the economy and state the economic facts as they exist. The President and his government’s unilateral style of functioning is not helping us at all.
TIME TO SPEAK OUT-
The Akufo-Addo government is trying so hard to hide the elephant in the room- which is the struggling Ghanaian economy and we should not allow them succeed in pushing the administration’s version of reality. The IMF and other respected institutions recently released certain critical facts about the economy and what their findings means is that, contrary to the claim that Ghana was one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it has dropped and in a distressed state. The international institutions revelations have attracted a lot of attention as several independent economic experts and observers already suspected this.
Now, leave aside the economic figures and data for a moment. To check how Ghana’s economy is doing, look around, examine anecdotal evidence and empirical data. The real estate is in a coma, unemployment figures are at their highest level, lower consumer spending, sluggish investment, and slow growth in agriculture and manufacturing, are retarding growth.
Sure, it is understandable that any government would want shiny figures on its economic performance, but resorting to window dressing data when the source data does not reflect the alternative reality that government has created is unacceptable. Why is government hiding part of our debt? Why the attempt to decorate this monkey look alike economy when millions of Ghanaians are languishing in abject poverty, when businesses are collapsing, when companies continue to sack workers and investors leaving the country? It is time to speak out. Time to expose the rot and deceit in the system and the likely consequences innocent Ghanaians will face in the coming years. All our revenue and loans the administration contracts in the name of the government and people of Ghana go into consumption and unnecessary expenditure.
Government put out those beautiful figures to support their reckless spending and corrupt activities which is dangerous.
Source: Ohenenana Obonti Krow