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Fact-checking Malik Basintale’s claims on Cedis to dollar rate

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A recent study by Global InfoAnalytics puts former president John Mahama ahead as the candidate who is likely to win the election in Dec. 2024. The report gained media attention and was discussed extensively on traditional and social media.

In discussing the data from the recent study on The Big Issues on TV3 Newday, which aired on April 9, 2024, Malik Basintale, deputy national communication officer for the National Democratic Congress(NDC), made claims about the cedi to dollar equivalents under former President Mahama’s administration in 2016 and the current government in 2024.

“Look, a teacher who used to take ₵4000 in 2016,  the equivalent of ₵4000  was $1000. Today, that teacher still takes ₵4000, but the equivalent is $261. It has been slashed down by close to $800,” he said.

The claim can be found from 36:15  to 36:30, as posted on TV3 Ghana’s Facebook page.

It is common practice to hear political communicators compare their performances and achievements in the months leading to the elections. In his discussion, DUBAWA identified two claims that have the potential to misinform. The assertions that ₵4000 was equivalent to $1000 in 2016 and ₵4000 is equivalent to $261 now, thus, on April 9, 2024.

Verification 

Claim 1: Malik Basintale claimed that in 2016, the equivalent of ₵4000 cedis was $1000.

Verdict: Misleading. According to the Bank of Ghana, in 2016, the equivalent of $1000 was less than ₵4000 from Jan. to Nov. and ₵4,230 in Dec.

Source: In Ghana, the Bank of Ghana is the main determiner for forex exchange rates. According to Table 4 of the Summary of Economic and Financial Data for Sep. 2016, the GH₵/ USD exchange rates were ₵3.83, ₵3.88, ₵3.83, ₵3.80, ₵3.83, ₵3.92, ₵3.95, ₵3.94 and ₵3.96 to a dollar for Jan, Feb, March, April, May, June, July, Aug, Sep. 2016 respectively. Multiplying these rates by a thousand implies that the equivalent of $1000  was less than ₵4000 in the said months in 2016.

Table showing Interbank Exchange rates  from Aug. 2015 to Sep. 2016 Source: Bank of Ghana

Further, according to the Summary of Economic and Financial Data for Jan. 2017, the GH₵/ USD exchange rates for Oct, Nov. and Dec. 2016 were ₵3.96, ₵3.98 and ₵4.23 to a dollar, respectively. This implies that the equivalent of $1000 was less than ₵4000 in Oct. and Nov. 2016. For Dec. 2016, the equivalent of  $1000 was ₵4,230.

Table showing Interbank Exchange rates for 2016 Source: Bank of Ghana

In addition, DUBAWA sourced data from Statista. Statista puts the average exchange rate at ₵3.9 to a dollar in 2016. Similarly, this implies that $1000 was equivalent to ₵3,900 in 2016.

Table showing average exchange rate from 2016 to 2023  Source: Statista

Claim 2:  As of now, the equivalent of ₵4000 is $261.

Verdict: Misleading. According to the Bank of Ghana data, the Cedi traded at a mid-rate of 12.9593 to a dollar on April 9, 2024. This implies that $261 on April 9, 2024 was ₵3,382 cedis. ₵4000 was equivalent to $308.6586 and not $261.

Source: DUBAWA sourced data from the Bank of Ghana. Its mid rate for Cedi to dollar exchange for April 9, 2024, was ₵12.9593 to a dollar.

Daily exchange rate for April, 2024. Source: Bank of Ghana 

Conclusion

According to Bank of Ghana data, the equivalent of $1000 was less than ₵ $4000 from Jan. to Nov. 2016 and ₵ $4,230 in Dec. 2016. On the other hand, as of April 9, 2024, the equivalent of ₵ $4000 is not $261 but $308.6586. The claims on the equivalent of cedi to dollar rates are misleading.

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