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Fuseini, MP for Sagnarigu, makes false claims about Ghana’s GDP growth history, food inflation and public debt stock

On Thursday, March 16, Members of Parliament continued to debate the Motion to thank President Nana Akufo-Addo for his State of the Nation address, which was delivered on March 8, 2023.

Member of Parliament for the Sagnarigu constituency, A.B.A Fuseini, was among the MPs allowed by the Speaker to contribute to the debate.

The MP was very critical of the government. He said that Ghanaians, under the leadership of President Akufo-Addo, are “suffering the most excruciating hardship ever in the annals of our country’s history.”

Defending that statement, he made some claims revolving around Ghana’s GDP growth, food inflation and public debt stock.

The entire Parliament session was streamed on Facebook, and his claims can be found between minutes 2:06:45 and 2:11:15.

Claim 1: Inflation is currently 53.7 per cent.

Verdict: False. The figure quoted by the MP is not current. The Statistical Service has issued an update on Ghana’s inflation situation.

Data from the Ghana Statistical Service indicate that annual inflation eased to 52.8 per cent in February 2023 from the 53.6 per cent recorded in January 2023. The figure quoted by MP cannot be considered Ghana’s current inflation rate as the Statistical Service had released the rate for February before the claim was made in Parliament.

The Statistical Service announced the February inflation rate on March 15. The claim was made on Thursday, March 16.

Claim 2:  Food inflation is above 122%.

Verdict: False.

The Consumer Price Index for February 2023, released by the Ghana Statistical Service, quotes 59.1 per cent as the country’s Food and Non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate. This slightly dropped from the 61.0 per cent recorded in January 2023.

“The Food and Non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate recorded a year-on-year inflation rate of 59.1 per cent in February 2023. The Non-Food group recorded a year-on-year inflation rate of 47.9 per cent in February 2023,” the report stated.

The MP may have referred to the October 2022 Africa Pulse Report report, which quoted 122 per cent as Ghana’s food inflation from January to October 2022 alone.

Claim 3: Ghana’s worst economic growth rate was recorded in 2020.

Verdict: False; Ghana has recorded lower GDP growths in its history.

“The worst level of economic performance in this country in terms of growth on an annual basis for any particular year has been under the watch of Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr Bawumia. [We recorded] 0.4 per cent in 2020… the worst record ever has been under the NPP [with] 0.4 per cent in 2020,” the Sagnarigu MP claimed whilst on the floor of parliament.

Indeed, the Finance Ministry, in the 2021 Mid-Year Review Statement (Page 14), quoted 0.4 per cent as the country’s GDP growth rate for 2020. However, that is not the worst ever recorded in Ghana.

Observing data from the World Bank, we noticed that Ghana had recorded lower GDP growth rates in the past. 

For instance, the country recorded in 1983 a -4.6 per cent economic growth rate. In 1979, the economy contracted by 2.5 per cent. These are just two instances out of several others where the country’s economic growth was lower than the 0.4 recorded in 2020.

Claim 4: Ghana’s best economic performance was recorded in 2011

Verdict: True. 

“The best economic performance in annual growth was 14.1 per cent in 2011,” A.B.A Fuseini said.

The World Bank’s GDP growth rate dashboard for Ghana commenced in 1961. Since that year, the highest economic growth rate recorded by the country was 14 per cent. 

Source: World Bank
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