Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Economist, govt, shred Afrobarometer report



An economist at the University of Cape Coast and government have raised serious reservations about the true representation of Ghana's economic situation as revealed by the latest Afrobarometer report.

Dr John Gatsi of the University of Cape Coast suggested on Joy FM's Top Story, Wednesday, that the report is incoherent.

The research was conducted from May to June this year in the heat of the country's downturn and at a time when there was a general consensus that the economy was challenged.

“It is very important to have a research of this kind at least for people to express how they feel about the economy, but there are some few issues that I think need more clarifications… if you conduct this kind of research, during the time that everybody including the president has agreed that there is serious economy difficulty then one would wonder whether it is a true reflection of what people really want to say,” he analysed.

Under such circumstance, the researchers should have gone the extra mile to find out if the people identified with the interventions government claimed it has put in place to address the challenges, he recommended.

A research of such nature, the respondents' background or the level of understanding of the issues at stake is also vital, Dr. Gatsi submitted.

He also identified some mismatches in the answers provided by the respondents, which the researchers used to conclude that the country is going in the wrong direction.

“I do not know the indicators that they used to give that conclusion, because if you look at macro-economic indicators such as the economy, 72% says it is very bad, but when you come to what is very important for Ghanaians only 18% are talking about economic management, and only 12% are talking about electricity.

Further shredding the report, Deputy Minister of Communications, Felix Kwakye Ofosu questioned the representativeness of the 2,400 respondents when the country's population is a little over 25 million.

Though he said government “values feedback and respects the views of Ghanaians”, he was quick to rebuff claims that the country is moving in the wrong direction.

He observed that “nearly a third of the respondents” were sampled from two regions â€" Ashanti and Eastern -, the strongholds of the opposition.

Mr. Kwakye Ofosu also insisted that it was “not accurate” to pass such a verdict about the economy because the challenges which persisted when the survey was conducted do not exist now.

“If you look at the period within which the survey was conducted, May to June, that was the period we were having difficulties with the exchange rate, the cedi has taken a nosedive against major international trading currencies.

“Since then, the cedi has made a remarkable (recovery). And over the last month or so has gained nearly 20% in its value, so surely the factors that would have informed the responses that came do not exist currently, therefore a different response would be elicited if such a survey was conducted [today].” Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com| Isaac Essel | [email protected] | twitter @isaacessel

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