EconomyFact Check

Ghana’s Inflation rate had not surged past 20% when NDC won power in 2008 as claimed by Sammy Gyamfi

Claim: National Communication Officer of the National Democratic Congress, Sammy Gyamfi, says that Ghana’s inflation rate was above 20 percent at the time his party won the 2008 election.

Even though the country’s inflation rate had surged past 20 percent during the tenure of the New Patriotic Party under President John Kufuor at the time of handing over to the Atta Mills led administration in January 2009, the rate was lower than 20%

Full Text

The National Communications Officer of the National Democratic Congress, Sammy Gyamfi, has said that Ghana’s inflation rate had surged past 20 percent when his party won the 2008 general elections.

He made the claim during an interview on “The Platform” on Accra-based Peace FM. A short clip in which the claim can be found has been uploaded in a video on Youtube on the Despite Media Channel.

“When we won the election in 2008, the economy was also in a mess, but not to this extent. The Kufuor economy was not like this, but inflation had crossed 20%. The cedi was depreciating at an alarming rate, and the treasury bill rate was high. Even with that, we were able to turn things around,” Sammy Gyamfi said in the Akan language from which this quotation was translated.

Sammy Gyamfi making the claim on Peace FM

Verification

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), “Inflation measures how much more expensive a set of goods and services has become over a certain period, usually a year.”

The inflation rate has always been a topic of discussion in Ghana every election year.

The 2008 General election was no exception. It was held on December 7, 2008, and it saw the National Democratic Congress led by John Atta Mills return to power.

To investigate the claim that the inflation rate was higher than 20%, we analyzed data from the Statistical Service of Ghana, the World Bank, and the Bank of Ghana.

Whereas the World Bank gives an annual inflation rate, the Bank of Ghana gives a monthly breakdown of the rate. The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) also provides a monthly update of the inflation rate. However, in verifying the claim, we found the GSS Living Standards Survey which provided the inflation rate for the period between 2005-2013.

Page 3 of the data from the Ghana Living Standards indicates that inflation for December 2008 stood at 16.5%.

Also according to data from the World Bank, Ghana’s inflation rate for 2008 was 16.5%. The Bank of Ghana quotes 18.13% as the country’s inflation rate for December 2008.

Source: World Bank | Red horizontal line showing 20% mark. Two black vertical lines show the period between 2000 and 2008. Evidently, inflation surged past 20% in the years 2000, 2001, and 2003.

Data from the Bank of Ghana for 2008, which was the last year for John Agyekum Kufuor as President,  indicates that Ghana’s inflation rate did not surge past 20% across the months.

The highest inflation rate recorded in 2008 was in June when the rate was 18.41%

Even for January 2009, which was the month in which Kufuor handed over power, the inflation rate was 19.68%, according to Bank of Ghana figures. 

Did the inflation rate spike past 20 percent during Kufuor’s administration?

Relying on data from the Bank of Ghana and the World Bank, the country’s inflation rate surged past 20 percent in some months of 2000, 2001, and 2003. 

Even though the inflation rate for January 2004 was 28.95%, it fell below 20% for the rest of the year.

According to the Bank of Ghana’s data, the inflation rate was below 20% from February 2004 to December 2008.

The World Bank quotes 40.2%, 41.5%, and 29.8% as the inflation rates for 2000, 2001, and 2003 respectively.

Data source: Bank of Ghana | Area marked red indicating periods between 2000 and 2008 when inflation surged past 20%

Conclusion

Data from the Bank of Ghana and the World Bank does not support Sammy Gyamfi’s claim that the country’s inflation rate had crossed 20% at the time the National Democratic Congress won the 2008 election.

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