Date to release figures for new rebased CPI postponed

BY: Daniel Ofosu Dwamena
Government Statistician, Mr Baah Wadieh
Government Statistician, Mr Baah Wadieh

The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has postponed the release of the inflation figures which were meant to be premised on the new rebased consumer price index (CPI), the average change in prices of goods and services.

The service failed to release the figures on August 15 as earlier advertised following concerns raised at its stakeholder meeting to deliberate on some of the new items which have been added to the new rebased price basket.

Meanwhile, the GSS has served notice that the new figures will be released in the course of the week.

The acting Government Statistician, Mr Baah Wadieh, said this in a sideline interview with the paper after the release of the inflation rate for the month of July.

He said the GSS was running quality checks on the figures to ensure that what was presented became the true reflection of the price index for the country.

He indicated that the service was currently in consultation with other stakeholders and experts who were giving guidelines and directions on the way forward.

“We allow those who are experts to also look at what we are doing and when they give us constructive suggestions, we look at how best we can incorporate it into what we are doing because we are not the only people to ascertain the quality of the data,” he said.

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He added that the provisional 400 price items listed on the basket for the new rebasing were subjected to be reduced after suggestions were made by some stakeholders that some of these items were not relevant and could not contribute to providing quality figures for the new CPI.

However, the number of items in the new basket would still be more than the old one after all checks had been made, he explained.

Inflation for July

Since the GSS could not release the index for the new rebased CPI, the July inflation took its base year from 2012 instead of 2017.

The July inflation was also calculated using the 267 price items in the old basket because the new items had not yet been approved by stakeholders and government institutions such as the Bank of Ghana (BOG) and some tertiary institutions in the country.

As a result, inflation rate stood at 9.6 per cent in July, a decrease from 10 per cent in the previous month. This represents a monthly change of 1.0 per cent, compared with 0.4 per cent in June this year.

According to the government statistician, the decrease was influenced by a corresponding decline in the non-food inflation basket which dipped from11.2 per cent in June to 10.7 per cent in July, representing a monthly change of negative 0.5 per cent.

He said the slight drop in inflation rate experienced in the non-food basket could be attributed to the decline in inflation for almost all the sub-groups under the non-food group.

“The downward trend is due to the fact that for the non-food group, inflation fell by 0.5 per cent from a figure of 11.2 to 10.7 per cent, and this actually is responsible for the fall in the inflation that we are observing,” he said.

He added that although the food group went up marginally from 7.3 per cent in June to 7.4 per cent in July, the food inflation did not have much effect on the trend of the overall inflation that was being reported.

That, he said, was because the weight for food was smaller than the weight of non-food, “so the changes in the non-food have a greater effect on the overall inflation”.

Mr Wadieh explained that the non-food group had a major effect on the trend of inflation because there were some external factors that always kept the sector’s inflation up.

Those factors, he said, included the importation of various commodities under the non-food groups, as well as policy interventions on locally produced goods of the non-food group.

“The locally produced goods too are influenced a lot by such policy interventions and changes in petroleum prices and utility bills,” he stated.